Know Your Knees, Part 1: Patello Femoral Joint Pain

Welcome to the first in our four part series on one of the most commonly injured body parts - your knees!

This week we are looking at:

Patello Femoral Joint Pain


  • Pain in the front of the knee or at one side of the knee cap (patella) but patients typically find it hard to isolate exactly the source of the pain.

  • Often worsened with exercises such as squatting or lunging as well as running/walking.


This is a very common presentation associated with the way the knee cap (patella) moves over the thigh bone (femur) when you bend, straighten or place load through the knee. It can be caused by:

  • Poor techniques used during running, walking and when performing exercises at the gym because of the way these techniques target different muscles around the knee. All of these factors cause dysfunctional movement of the knee cap which creates aggravation.

  • Sometimes forgotten as a cause of this type of knee pain is a collision or traumatic incident that inflicts a direct blow to the knee cap which can also alter the biomechanics of the patella’s movement.

  • Lastly, when there is a weakness and/or poor control around the hip which adds extra load to some of the structures around the knee in order to maintain stability during exercise.


  • Correcting the techniques involved in the cause of this injury is the first priority. Good physiotherapists, Exercise Physiologists and Personal Trainers should be able to identify the aspects of technique that need to be addressed.

  • Stretching the tight lateral (outside) aspect of the quad muscle group called the ‘Vastus Lateralis’ is also very important,

  • in combination with a graded strength program to address the weakness or poor control of the medial (inside) aspect of the quad muscle group called the ‘Vastus Medialis Oblique.’

  • Strengthening of the Glutes (Hip muscles) to improve the control and stability of the entire leg and offload the muscles around the knee. Stay tuned for next weeks instalment!

If you have a pain, injury or simply a question - give us a call on (08) 9448 2994, or book an appointment online here!

#physiotherapy #physio #doctororphysio #knowyourknee #knee #patellofemoral

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