Anterior Knee Pain (Patellofemoral Pain)

Patellofemoral or anterior knee pain is the most common complaint seen by physiotherapists and sports doctors in Australia.  It is particularly common in sports people, but can affect people of all ages and activity levels.  This condition is characterised by pain over the front of the knee, which is typically worse with activities such as stairs, squatting and kneeling, and eases with rest.  Many factors can contribute to this type of knee pain, so it is important to see your physiotherapist for a thorough assessment and tailored management plan.


  • Pain or ache around the front of the knee
  • Pain when going up or stairs, squatting or kneeling
  • Pain when sitting with the knee bent for long periods
  • Swelling around the front of the knee
  • Crunching or grinding noise when squatting or going up or down stairs. Don’t be alarmed this is not usually a sign of serious damage!

What can you do?

  • Rest from aggravating activities or sports
  • Use an ice pack over the front of the knee twice daily, or when the knee is painful
  • Seek the help of your physiotherapist for treatment

Physiotherapy management

Your physiotherapist will perform a complete assessment, prescribe treatment to help relieve the pain, and design an exercise program to help prevent the problem recurring in the future.  Some of the techniques they may utilise include;

  • Stretching tight muscles and structures
  • Strengthening weak muscles to help address any muscle imbalances
  • Orthotics or taping to help improve foot posture
  • Knee taping techniques to help unload the knee
  • Dry needling
  • Soft tissue releases
  • Sport specific strengthening exercises
  • Proprioceptive training to help improve balance