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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

At Shift, we understand how patellofemoral pain syndrome can affect many aspects of your life — your energy, activity levels, work, emotions, hobbies, relationships, and social life. That’s why we have created an integrative model, one that acknowledges all of these components of your health and wellbeing to support the whole you. We also offer you the best of eastern and western therapies side by side. Our compassionate team, collaborative model, and open, light-filled environment further promote deeper healing.

Our goal at Shift is to listen to your story and your goals so that together we can develop an individualized plan for your patellofemoral pain and to help you achieve optimal health. The first step is to call us for a free phone consultation so that we can guide you to the right therapist and help you set up an appointment.

During your initial appointment, you will have the opportunity to share what you are hoping to achieve while at Shift. Our expert Physical Therapist will perform a full evaluation and together you will come up with a customized treatment plan. Physical Therapy appointments are always one-on-one with a licensed Physical Therapist for 45 minutes in length. We never use physical therapy aides and we won’t keep you waiting. It’s what you want and what you deserve.

What is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

Patellofemoral Pain is irritation of the patellofemoral joint, which is the part of the knee where the patella (kneecap) glides up and down in a groove on the front of the femur (thigh bone).

The joint can become irritated when there is an imbalance of muscular strength and flexibility surrounding the knee, which may cause an increased compression of the patella against the groove and/or a rubbing of the undersurface of the patella against the side of the groove instead of gliding smoothly up and down the midline of the track.

This can be due to several factors and your PT will conduct a variety of tests to determine which factors are relevant to your case.

Symptoms of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

  • pain around the front of the kneecap, often worse when climbing stairs
  • squatting
  • getting up and down from a chair
  • straightening out the knee after prolonged sitting

Causes of Patellogemoral Pain Syndrome

  • tight quads
  • weak hip muscles
  • excessive foot pronation
  • habitual hyperextension of the knees in standing
  • weakness of the core muscles

If Left Untreated

If left untreated, patellofemoral pain syndrome can hasten the development of osteoarthritis in the knees due to excessive wear and tear on the articular cartilage that coats the posterior surface of the patella and the anterior surface of the groove in which it glides. Even in the short term, it can significantly interfere with ability to participate in sports, climb stairs, or sit comfortably in a car or theater seat.


Research supports the efficacy of PT for the treatment of patellofemoral pain. Patients usually feel significant relief of pain with Physical Therapy in 4-6 weeks.

Physical Therapy Treatment of Patellofemoral Syndrome

Here at Shift, we bring a variety of ideas to the table with a common goal of better mobility throughout the hip, knee, and ankle, better strength in the core, hip, and affected knee, and improved motor control of knee position in posture and daily activities. We may incorporate Pilates, Yoga, Feldenkrais, and a variety of breathing techniques with manual therapies. We often offer home gym exercise options, taping techniques, or footwear modifications to decrease your pain and help bring your body into better balance.


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