Patella Femoral Syndrome

What is Patella Femoral Syndrome?

Patella femoral syndrome is also referred as Chrondomalacia Patella. This condition is characterized by an abnormal softening of the patients’ cartilage of the kneecap or the patella. Patella femoral syndrome is a result of the degeneration of a person’s cartilage. This is rooted from an underlying condition, and it states sliding of the bone structure ineffectively. This phenomenon is described as the patella sliding over the lower ends of the femur or knows as the thigh bone.

The condition is the most common cause of knee pain, as the person affected would usually complain of. PFS is said to be aggravated by activities such as running, prolonged sitting, hopping or jumping, and climbing the stairs. The condition is quite common according to epidemiological studies. Patella femoral syndrome is considered common among people who are physically active. Those who are still in school are quite affected of the condition, garnering about 20% of all cases are students. This is influenced by the prevalence of students to be physically active, as this is required of them. Reports have shown that women are quite affected of this condition compared to men. This is due to the fact that women are more prone to having bone density problems, especially when one ages.

The condition can be diagnosed through some tests. These tests would include imaging studies such as nuclear scans, CT scans, and MRI. These tests are not that necessary, but are done in order to rule out other possible conditions. The most common procedure done in order to confirm for the condition is arthroscopy. This test is done to directly visualize the cartilage affected. This can assess the joint structures of the patient and provide guidance to the doctor in the hopes for the surgical intervention.


The patient would usually complain of knee pain, the phatognomonic sign of patella femoral syndrome. The pain is characterized by the following:

The location of the pain is found behind the patella. It would usually be aggravated by activities such as running, jumping and those that require a person to flex the knees. The pain would then worsen as the patient does an action repeatedly. As the affected person continuously stays in one position such as sitting, it can aggravate the pain too.


The root cause of patella femoral syndrome is still in the works. But according to studies, this condition is believed to be associated with over usage, overloading and misuse of the patella femoral joint. The condition can be triggered by a person’s profession. Athletes are quite prone to such syndrome. Women are prone for they tend to be at risk for bone problems.

The process of patella femoral syndrome is by the pulling of the patella bones making and inflicting shear forces on the joints. This then results to bones becoming brittle. Because of this, people who have a medical history of having brittle bones would make them prone to such condition. Precipitating factors include fractures, osteoarthritis, and bone tumors.


The treatment for patella femoral syndrome includes the following:

Provide rest

Because of the overuse of the patella-femoral joints, the patient would need adequate rest. Do not concentrate in one sitting position. It is advisable that one would ambulate from time to time. When a person is into contact or aggressive sports, one should avoid or stop this kind of activity for some time.



Application of ice on the affected joint can reduce the swelling or local pain. This can also be done in alternate with hot compress, whatever the patient prefers. Taking of NSAIDs is done in order to reduce the pain felt by the patient and to decrease the inflammatory process. Celebrex is provided to patients.


There are cases where the patient is required to have an applied brace. This can be a help facilitate in avoiding for further damage to the area.

Surgical Intervention

Surgical interventions are done in cases where the damage cannot be treated with simple exercises and medications. Lateral facetectomy is done when arthritis is involved. Cartilage transplantation is also performed. As routine procedure is done in order to correct the defect of the bones, arthroscopic drilling.


Prevention is done by knowing the facts. Patient education is essential in order to avoid complications and to make sure that the condition is treated. It is important that a person takes good care of his or her health. In order to have strong bones, drinking of milk is recommended. Taking of foods rich in calcium is advised. When a patient is progressively active and is usually using his or her legs, rest should be provided accordingly. A patient can attain full recovery once he submits himself to treatment and follows the regimen accordingly.


This condition should not be taken lightly, as what others commonly do. They think this is an ordinary knee or joint pain, that it lets them consider that the odds of the condition are not important. Exercise is an essential part in the treatment course. Here are the following exercises for patella femoral syndrome:

  • Walking backwards – This would provide a new pattern of movement to the joints and muscles. This can help a person work on the difficulties of having patella femoral syndrome.
  • Leg-extension exercise – This is one effective mode of exercise. This can assist the client in attaining a full leg extension, where a person affected is incapable when experiencing the syndrome. Gradually, as this is being practiced, the person affected then can include simple workouts of the lower extremities.
  • Back-pedaling exercise – This is done by running backwards and using the thigh muscles effectively. This then can assist a person in managing the knees to become stress-free. Frequent, correct use of the legs can reduce damage, but should be controlled in order to avoid stress.
  • Adjust and correct ones foot placement. Walking with the feet forward is the correct position and placement of the feet. This would help in managing a person’s calves and knee muscles to a stress-free condition.

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