About Patellofemoral Pain

What is it and what are your treatment options?
Anchorage: (907) 562-2277
Wasilla: (907) 357-2267
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What is Patellofemoral Pain?

The patella or kneecap is a small bone that protects the knee and connects the large thigh muscles to the tibia or shin bone. 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
      • An Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA) specialists will conduct the following to obtain the proper diagnosis to start immediate treatment for a quicker recovery:

      • 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
        • A treatment plan is prescribed after a formal diagnosis is made. OPA specialist’s treatment plans are tailored to your symptoms and lifestyle.

        Common Treatments:

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

        RICE Method

        Rest, ice, compression, and elevation decreases swelling, inflammation, and pain

        Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)

        Taken orally or applied topically to decrease inflammation and pain

        Activity Modification

        Reduces or stops symptom causing activities


        Supports the knee during physical activities

        Physical Therapy

        Strengthens and stretches knee muscles, ligaments, and tendons by an OPA approved physical therapist


        Cushion the knee while standing, walking, and running

        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.

        At OPA, our Board-Certified and Fellowship Trained Specialists are experts in diagnosing and treating patellofemoral pain.

        If you are experiencing pain in the front of your knee and/or around your kneecap, contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists that are conveniently located in Anchorage and Wasilla.

        Schedule An Appointment

        To receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan, please make an appointment with one of our Orthopedic Team Specialists at our offices conveniently located in Anchorage and Wasilla, AK.
        Anchorage: (907) 562-2277
        Wasilla: (907) 357-2267

        OPA Knee Team

        (click a provider to view profile)

        Deryk Anderson, DO

        Orthopedic Specialist

        Tucker Drury, MD

        Orthopedic Specialist

        Adam Ellison, MD

        Orthopedic Specialist

        Robert Hall, MD

        Orthopedic Specialist

        Christopher Manion, MD

        Orthopedic Specialist

        Jeff Moore, MD

        Orthopedic Specialist

        Eli Powell, MD

        Orthopedic Specialist

        Michael Reyes, MD

        Orthopedic Specialist

        Greg Schweiger, MD

        Orthopedic Specialist

        Our Mission

        To provide the finest orthopedic surgery and musculoskeletal care in North America, offering general and specialized adult care to all Alaskans and visitors.


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