Patellofemoral Pain

OPA treats a wide variety of knee conditions and offers comprehensive treatment options — including many non-surgical solutions.

What is Patellofemoral Pain?

Patellofemoral pain, which is also referred to as “runner’s knee” or “jumper’s knee”, describes pain near the front of the knee and around the patella (kneecap). Usually, patellofemoral pain is caused by abnormal kneecap alignment and/or overuse. Athletes and active individuals are most at risk; however, anyone can experience patellofemoral pain.

Common Causes:

    • Overuse. Running or jumping sports puts repetitive stress on your knee joint, which can cause irritation under the kneecap.
    • Muscle imbalances or weaknesses. Patellofemoral pain can occur when the muscles around your hip and knee don’t keep your kneecap properly aligned.
    • Injury. Trauma to the kneecap, such as a dislocation or fracture, has been linked to patellofemoral pain syndrome.
    • Surgery. Knee surgery, particularly repair to the anterior cruciate ligament using your own patellar tendon as a graft, increases the risk of patellofemoral pain.

Symptoms of a Patellofemoral Pain may include:

    • Pain with knee movement
    • Pain after sitting for a prolonged period of time
    • Stiffness, possibly with cracking and/or popping sounds

When you arrive for your initial consultation, Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA) team of knee specialists will evaluate your areas of concern, discuss your symptoms, and develop a customized and comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your unique needs. This evaluation is a necessary part of diagnosing your condition and providing the best possible care.

When diagnosing patellofemoral pain, the OPA specialist will provide:

    • Obtain a medical history to check for risk factors
    • Perform a physical examination to check for symptoms and test knee strength and flexibility
    • Order and analyze x-rays to view kneecap alignment

Once an official diagnosis is made, a customized treatment plan is prescribed. Treatment plans decrease symptoms as quickly as possible.

Common Treatments:

Nonsurgical treatment options treat the overwhelming majority of cases of patellofemoral pain. A treatment plan usually consists of multiple treatment options:

Decrease inflammation and pain.

Cushion the knee while standing, walking, and running.

Physical Therapy
OPA approved physical therapist will provide exercises to strengthen the collateral ligament and surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Surgery is rarely indicated for patellofemoral pain but may be warranted if there is a severe misalignment of the kneecap. During arthroscopic surgery, an OPA specialist carefully removes torn cartilage and/or releases a portion of the patella tendon to correct misalignment.

Schedule Appointment with Our Knee Team


The OPA team includes Alaska’s leading specialists and offers some of the latest, most advanced treatment procedures available today.

OPA treats a wide variety of conditions and offers comprehensive treatment options — including many non-surgical solutions, minimally invasive arthroscopies (repairs) and total joint replacement.

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