What is patellofemoral syndrome (PFS)?

Updated: Sep 15, 2020
  • Author: Noel F So, MD, FAAPMR; Chief Editor: Consuelo T Lorenzo, MD  more...
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Patellofemoral syndrome (PFS) is characterized by a group of symptoms that contribute to anterior knee pain and that often respond to conservative management. The pain is associated with positions of the knee that result in increased or misdirected mechanical forces between the patella and femur. [1, 2] Lack of consensus regarding the cause of PFS remains, likely because several factors associated with the syndrome present differently in each patient. Arthroscopy helps to confirm the diagnosis of PFS by allowing direct visualization of the cartilage surface. The basic exercise principles for the management of the syndrome are improving the range of motion of the iliotibial band, hip flexors, and quadriceps; strengthening the core, quadriceps, hip abductors, hip extensors, and hamstrings; and restricting the offending physical activity.

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