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Patello-Femoral Pain Syndrome (PFJ)

What is Patello-Femoral Pain Syndome (PFJ)?

Patello-Femoral Syndrome is the medical name for a condition that causes pain in and around the front of the knee.  The patella (kneecap) is designed to move smoothly within a ready made groove on the femur (thigh bone).  When the patella is not moving or “tracking” properly within its’ groove, anterior knee pain can develop.  This knee problem can occur in all age groups and can often be mistaken as ’arthritic’ pain. Pain usually comes from the surrounding tissue of the patella but can also be generated from the surface of the bones. PFJ syndrome can also present as ‘noisy’ knees on stairs or squatting.

How long will it last?

Typically Patello-Femoral Syndrome once diagnosed can respond to a physiotherapy regime over 6 weeks. Our Practitioners at The Sports Injury Clinic have been involved in research for Patello-Femoral Syndrome and will provide you with the latest in treatment methods for PFJ pain. 


The symptoms of Patello Femoral Joint Syndrome (PFJ) are:

  • Pain on or around the front of the knee - sometimes at rest, sitting, kneeling.
  • Pain on squatting, stairs, lunging.
  • Weakness or the feeling like your knee may give way. This is due to the quadriceps (thigh) muscle not working properly secondary to PFJ syndrome.
  • Swelling around the knee.
  • Muscle wasting at the front of the thigh (the quadriceps).
  • Poor balance in that leg.

Suggestions for managing Patello-Femoral Syndrome

  • We recommend an Physiotherapy assessment to assist in diagnosing your PFJ injury. There are often contributing factors such as foot mechanics (pronation or flat feet) that contribute and you may be referred to a Podiatrist for assistance for your recovery.
  • Taping your PFJ as advised by one of our Practitioners.
  • Commencing immediate pain free quadriceps exercises, specifically the inner quadriceps (VMO) which will assist in improving strength and decreasing pain associated with PFJ syndrome.
  • If you are injured at work or in sport, our practitioners have approved knee conditioning programs for your PFJ Injury that will get you back on track sooner.
  • Rebuilding your muscles is imperative for a full return to activity or sport. Do not assume that your muscles automatically return after experiencing PFJ pain. See our exercise program options
  • Never ignore PFJ syndrome in a young person, be assessed by one of our Profesionals.

Professional treatment options

Contact us now for immediate advice regarding PFJ Syndrome.