Published: June 22, 2011
Updated: June 22, 2011
Runner's knee, or patellofemoral pain syndrome, is characterized by pain behind or around the patella (kneecap).
Though the exact cause is unknown, patellofemoral pain syndrome tends to be an overuse injury. Runner's knee is common in high-impact athletes, such as runners and jumpers, as well as in manual laborers.
Runner's knee can also develop from improper tracking of the patella on the fermur, which causes stress on the cartilage and soft tissue lining under the kneecap as it slides against the knee joint -- particularly when the patella is misalligned.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome can also be caused by excess weight, flat feet, or kneecap dislocation.
Common symptoms of patellofemoral pain syndrome include:
A physical examination of your knee, as well as a review of your medical history, is key to diagnosis. Your doctor will inquire about your physical activity, assess your knee's range of motion, and evaluate your knee's allignment and stability.
X-ray and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also help rule out fracture and determine if there is damage to the tissue and structure of the knee.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome is typically treated conservatively and without surgery. Common treatments include:
Watch an educational video about patellofemoral pain syndrome and treatment options for this condition.