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Patellofemoral Pain

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) refers specificly to pain

  • at the front of the knee
  • in and around the kneecap (patella)

PFPS is one of the most common types of knee pain experienced in the United States, particularly among

  • athletes
  • active teenagers
  • older adults
  • and people who perform physical labor

Patellofemoral pain affects more women than men and accounts for 20% to 25% of all reported knee pain.

Our senior physiotherapists design exercise and treatment programs for people experiencing PFPS to help them

  • reduce knee pain
  • restore normal knee movement
  • and avoid future knee injuries and operations

What is Patellofemoral Pain?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) refers to pain at the front of the knee, in and around the kneecap. (The kneecap, or patella, is the triangle-shaped bone at the front of the knee joint.)

Patellar and knee pain happens when friction is created between the undersurface of the kneecap and the thigh bone (femur). The pain also is usually accompanied by tenderness along the edges of the kneecap.

Current research indicates that PFPS is an "overuse syndrome," which means that it may result from repetitive or excessive use of the knee.

Other contributing factors may include:

  • Weakness, tightness, or stiffness in the muscles around the knee and hip
  • An abnormality in the way the lower leg lines up with the hip, knee, and foot
  • Improper tracking of the kneecap

These conditions can interfere with the ability of the kneecap to glide smoothly on the femur (the bone that connects the knee to the thigh) in the femoral groove (situated along the thigh bone) during movement.

The friction between the undersurface of the kneecap and the femur causes the pain and irritation commonly seen in PFPS. The kneecap also may fail to track properly in the femoral groove when the quadriceps muscle on the inside front of the thigh is weak, and the hip muscles on the outside of the thigh are tight.

The kneecap gets pulled in the direction of the tight hip muscles and can track or tilt to the side, which irritates the tissues around the kneecap.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) often occurs in people who are

  • physically active
  • suddenly increased their level of activity, especially when that activity involves repeated knee motion, such as running, stair climbing, squatting
  • or repeated carrying of heavy loads

Older adults may experience age-related changes that cause the cartilage on the undersurface of the kneecap to wear out, resulting in pain and difficulty completing daily tasks without pain.

How Does Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) Feel like?

People with PFPS may experience:

  • Pain when walking up or down stairs or hills
  • Pain when walking on uneven surfaces
  • Pain that increases with activity and improves with rest
  • Pain that develops after sitting for long periods of time with the knee bent
  • A "crack" or "pop" when bending or straightening the knee (also medically termed as crepitus)

How Is Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) Diagnosed?

Our senior physiotherapists will

  • review your health history
  • perform a thorough examination
  • and conduct a series of tests to evaluate your knee

We may observe the alignment of your feet, analyze your walking and running patterns, and test the strength of your hip and thigh muscles to find out whether there is a weakness or imbalance that might be contributing to your pain.

We also will check the flexibility of the muscles in your leg, paying close attention to those that attach at the knee.

Generally, X-rays are not needed to diagnose PFPS though we may consult with an orthopedic physician who may order an X-ray to rule out other conditions.

how our senior physiotherapists can help

After a comprehensive evaluation, we will analyze the findings and, if PFPS is present, we will prescribe an exercise and rehabilitation program just for you.

Your patellar physiotherapy program may include:

Strengthening exercises

We will teach you exercises targeted at the hip (specifically, the muscles of the buttock and thigh), the knee (specifically, the quadriceps muscle located on the front of your thigh that straightens your knee), and the ankle.

Strengthening these muscles will help relieve pressure on the knee, as you perform your daily activities.

Stretching exercises

We also will choose exercises to gently stretch the muscles of the hip, knee, and ankle. Increasing the flexibility of these muscles will help reduce any abnormal forces on the knee and kneecap.

Positional training

Based on your activity level, we may teach you proper form and positioning when performing activities, such as

  • rising from a chair to a standing position
  • stair climbing
  • squatting
  • or lunging

to minimize excessive forces on the kneecap. This type of training is particularly effective for athletes.

Cross-training guidance

PFPS is often caused by overuse and repetitive activities. Athletes and active individuals can benefit from our senior physiotherapists guidance about proper cross-training techniques to minimize stress on the knees.

Taping or bracing

We may choose to tape the kneecap to reduce your pain and retrain your muscles to work efficiently. There are many forms of knee taping, including some types of tape that help align the kneecap and some that just provide mild support to irritated tissues around it.

In some cases, a brace may be required to hold the knee in the best position to ensure proper healing.

Electrical stimulation

We may prescribe treatments with gentle electrical stimulation to reduce pain and support the healing process.

Activity-based exercises

If you are having difficulty performing specific daily activities, or are an athlete who wants to return to a specific sport, we will design individualized exercises to rebuild your strength and performance levels.

Knee Physiotherapy

An effective rehabilitation program reduces the chances of re-injury and of other knee-related problems such as patellofemoral pain syndrome and osteoarthritis.

Typically patella dislocations are initially immobilized for the first 2–3 weeks to allow the stretched structures to heal.

Rehabilitation focuses on maintaining strength and range of motion to reduce pain and maintain the health of the muscles and tissues around the knee joint.

The objective to any good rehabilitation program is to

A common physiotherapy plan is to strengthen the

  • hip abductors
  • hip external rotators
  • and quadricep muscles

Commonly used exercises include isometric quadricep sets, side lying clamshells, leg dips with internal tibial rotation, etc.

The idea is that because the medial side is most often stretched by the more common lateral dislocation, medial strengthening will add more stabilizing support.

With progression more intense range of motion exercises are incorporated.

Our senior physiotherapists will also use treatment modalities such as

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3 easy ways to book your physio appointments with us

WhatsApp Message

Tap or click the image above to whatsapp message us (or this number: +65 88001830)

Phone / Voice Call

Tap the image above (or tap this number +6588001830 to call us on your mobile)


Email me at nigel@phoenixrehabgroup.com

Phoenix Rehab Physio Services

Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist physiotherapists and rehab therapists who are highly trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of expert care to our patients.


Patients who sustained injuries to their elbows, forearms, hands, wrists (sprains and fractures) and fingers, usually will benefit / require Hand Therapy to

  1. manage and decrease hand pains
  2. improve range of motion, strength and dexterity
  3. increase the function of their hand following injuries or post-operations

Commonly treated hand pain injuries includes


Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility and breathing.

It is a system of safe and effective exercises, which meet specific individual needs, to treat a wide range of injuries and conditions.

You may do Pilates as matwork or with the reformer or both, and every session will be customized 100% to your fitness, injury and tolerance.


  • Cupping TCM
  • Auricular Therapy TCM
  • Herbal TCM Medicine & Supplementation


Sports and deep tissue release massage helps to increase nutrient-rich blood flow to tired, tight and tense muscles to accelerate recovery and  shorten downtime / recovery period required.

It also prevents muscles from scar tissue micro-tears (and potential ruptures), and increases muscle performance. Having regular deep tissue and sports massage will keep your muscles healthy and fit with body/movement-confidence.

Read the benefits of regular deep tissue release therapy here.


All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).

See our entire team here with introductions and their specializations.

At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session.

Follow up sessions are inline to provide expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term solution.

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We appreciate you as our valued clients and want you to know that the # 1 way we grow as a clinic / brand is through word of mouth referrals from valued patients like yourself.

We prefer not to rely on advertising - instead, we prefer and appreciate the goodwill and positive reinforcement from patients. When you have the chance, please tell your family, friends and physicians about the positive results and experience you have had in our physio clinics.

3 easy ways to book your physio appointments with us

WhatsApp Message

Tap or click the image above to whatsapp message us (or this number: +65 88001830)

Phone / Voice Call

Tap the image above (or tap this number +6588001830 to call us on your mobile)


Email me at nigel@phoenixrehabgroup.com