Anterior knee pain, while commonly used as a diagnosis, actually represents a symptom. As a diagnosis it’s not specific to the pathology giving rise to the symptoms and should be avoided. Also known as patellofemoral pain, patellofemoral syndrome or chondromalacia patellae the condition is extremely common and needs to be thoroughly assessed to identify underlying causes.
The diagnosis refers to symptoms felt at or around the knee and may be caused by numerous factors. A chronic history of this condition warrants full biomechanical assessment, including knee position, foot mechanics and patella position. Soft tissue tightness in the calf, hamstring and quad muscle groups should be investigated. As should muscle power through range in the quadriceps muscle group.
Treatment of anterior knee pain should include addressing of biomechanical factors predisposing the patient to the condition. Treatment techniques may include patella mobilisation, patella taping, quadriceps retraining, dry needling and manual therapy of tight structures.
In most instances of anterior knee pain athletes can continue to train throughout treatment of the condition with some alterations to certain weight bearing activities.