Patellofemoral Syndrome, also known as Chondromalacia Patella or Runners Knee, is an irritation of the cartilage on the back of the patella (the kneecap). Patellofemoral Syndrome typically occurs because of overuse and activities that require a lot of running or jumping. These activities can place significant stress on the cartilage that covers the undersurface of the patella as it slides against the knee joint, particularly if there is improper tracking of the patella on the femur or if the patella is misaligned.
The most common symptom is a dull ache that is experienced in the front of the knee when first standing up after prolonged sitting (referred to as a “theater sign”), or with squatting or going down stairs. Other symptoms may include the sensation of grinding, catching, or popping in the knee.
Conservative treatment options include rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, bracing, cortisone injections, and PRP therapy.