Although patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is a commonly used diagnostic term, some argue it has no set signs and symptoms and is valueless as a diagnosis (1). For the purpose of this series of monographs the term PFPS will be retained to describe pain arising from the area of the patella after other conditions such as chondromalacia patella have been ruled out.
The most common overuse injury to the knee is PFPS. Common symptoms include retropatellar or peripatellar knee pain of gradual onset. The patient often complains of pain on climbing or descending stairs. PFPS may account for 11% of musculoskeletal pain complaints and up to 25% of all injuries in runners (2). It is a condition that trends toward chronicity as 1/3 of patients continued to demonstrate symptoms at the conclusion of a 7 year follow-up study (3).
(1) Grelsamer RP. Patellar nomenclature: the Tower of Babel revisited. Clin Orthop Relat Res 2005 Jul;(436):60-5.
(2) Dixit S, DiFiori JP, Burton M, Mines B. Management of patellofemoral pain syndrome. Am Fam Physician 2007 Jan 15;75(2):194-202.
(3) Kannus P, Natri A, Paakkala T, Jarvinen M. An outcome study of chronic patellofemoral pain syndrome. Seven-year follow-up of patients in a randomized, controlled trial. J Bone Joint Surg Am 1999 Mar;81(3):355-63.