Patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as “runner’s knee,” is pain behind the kneecap.

The kneecap (patella) protects the front of the knee joint. It glides up and down in a groove formed between the two condyles of the femur (leg) bone. Repeated bending and straightening of the knee can cause irritation of the inside surface of the kneecap along with pain. It may also be caused by the alignment of the hips, legs, knees or feet.

Most individuals with patellofemoral pain syndrome experience snapping, popping, or grinding in the knee, swelling of the knee, and pain when walking, running or sitting for a long time. The pain may be worse when walking down stairs or downhill.

A knee specialist at Lancaster Orthopedic Group will review your symptoms, examine your knee, and order X-rays or an MRI to check for damage to the patella or femur.

Conservative treatment of patellofemoral pain syndrome includes avoiding the activities that produce pain (jumping, running, kneeling, stairs and squatting), as well as ice, anti-inflammatory medication, a brace to stabilize the kneecap, and physical therapy. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to help realign the patellar in the femoral groove.