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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

What is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PPS) is a term used to describe pain originating from the front of the knee in the region of the patella (kneecap) and thighbone. It is believed that the way the patella tracks along the groove of the femur can lead to irritation of the cartilage on the underside of the patella. It is the most prevalent complaint among patients presenting with knee pain.

Common Causes of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

The exact cause of patellofemoral pain is unknown. A variety of activities that cause repetitive motion or overuse can contribute to this syndrome; for example running, jumping and squatting activities. There are several factors that can cause this to occur: muscle imbalances, decreased flexibility, improper training techniques and biomechanical abnormalities such as excessive pronation of the foot.

Common Symptoms of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

The main symptom of patellofemoral pain syndrome is knee pain, especially when sitting with bent knees, squatting, jumping or using the stairs (especially going down stairs). Occasional knee buckling, where the knee suddenly and unexpectedly gives way, may also be experienced. A catching, popping or grinding sensation when walking or with knee movement is also common.


How We Treat Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

  • Taping to reduce pain and retrain the muscles to work efficiently
  • Modalities including ice, heat, ultrasound or electrical stimulation to decrease pain and swelling
  • Strengthening exercises to target the core, hip, knee and ankle
  • Stretching of hip and knee musculature
  • Manual soft tissue mobilization and joint mobilization
  • Balance and functional retraining exercises to improve recreational, sport and daily living activities



*Services are not available at all locations. Call or click the location page near you for that center’s services.

What to Expect

Every patient has a unique health history, diagnosis and personal goals.  When you come for your first appointment, we will create a personalized treatment plan for you.

We work with most major insurance providers and do our best to help keep the paperwork pain-free.  If you’d like to confirm your insurance coverage, please let us know and we can verify when you schedule.  If your insurance provider requires a co-pay, we will ask for this payment at each visit.  We accept payments by cash, check or credit card.

When to arrive for physical therapy

When to Arrive

On average, a patient’s first visit lasts about an hour. We typically ask patients to arrive 15 minutes early to sign-in, complete paperwork and/or change clothes.

What to Bring for Physical Therapy

What to Bring

On your first visit, you’ll need to bring your physician referral or prescription (if needed), your insurance card, your primary registration forms, your ID or driver’s license and your co-payment (as applicable). If desired, you may bring a change of clothing.

How Physical Therapy Works

How it Works

During your first visit, your physical therapist will do an initial evaluation and discuss your plan of care.  The therapist uses this information to set goals for your continued treatment.  Physical therapy goals may include improved movement, strength, endurance and flexibility, as well as decreased pain.  Your subsequent visits will focus on treatment that is based on your diagnosis and individualized goals.