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Runners Knee / Patellofemoral Joint Pain

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Runners Knee / Patellofemoral Joint Pain


Runners knee is often characterised by pain at the front and outside of the knee and is often another way of describing patello-femoral joint pain (PFJP) which is where the patella (knee cap) articulates with the femur (thigh bone) as illustrated in the picture. 

Information Video

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms tend to be brought on when going up and down hills or stairs, getting out of a chair or lowering yourself on to the floor. You may find that symptoms are worse when static for long periods which then improves with movement. Other patients however, may experience more irritation with activity or symptoms may exacerbate later in the day of the next morning. 


Patello-femoral joint pain is often the result of relative sudden overload to the structures at the front of the knee that then become sore on activity. Often, the patient may have had a sudden increase in their exercise or activity level which triggers the pain, or it may be from a force to the front of the knee. Symptoms may also develop due to individual anatomical variations that make certain surfaces under the knee cap more susceptible to overload and irritation. Biomechanical differences in the lower limbs can increase the likelihood of overload in the patello-femoral joint. 

Assessment & Diagnosis

At Pure, our Physios can identify factors that may be contributing to the development of anterior knee pain. As part of your assessment, our team at Pure Physiotherapy will complete a thorough review of strength and movement of your legs and lower back to look at the factors that may be contributing to the pain.


They may look at your walking and/or running technique or ask you to repeat some of the activities that can aggravate your discomfort. This will allow them to get a better understanding of the causes of the pain. 


You will receive an accurate and timely diagnosis so that the most appropriate management and treatment plan can be put in place to optimise your recovery and achieve the best possible outcomes.


Our Physiotherapists at Pure design your treatment and management programme with your goals as the focus. Your Physio will discuss modifications to your training program/levels of activity to allow the pain to settle. They will also explain how you can gradually increase your levels of activity to allow you body to adapt to the forces and loads it is exposed to.


Your Physio will design an individualised and progressive rehabilitation programme with will comprise of strengthening and stretching exercises.


Please find the patient resources section of our website where we have created a series of recommended exercise programmes to strengthen the knee musculature. We advise consulting with your Physiotherapist prior to trying any of these exercises.


Also, click here for more information on the most common running injuries.

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