Injury: Patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner's knee)

Gavin Burt breaks down this common and terribly painful injury.

by Gavin Burt

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Gavin Burt is a registered osteopath specialising in running related injuries. He graduated from the British College of Osteopathic Medicine with a first class honours degree in Osteopathic Medicine in 1998. He is a veteran long distance runner and managing director of Backs & Beyond Ltd ( in North London.

Here are his top tips on diagnosing and treating PFPS - 

By far the most common running injury that darkens my door, and i’m sure the doors of most osteopaths and physiotherapists, is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome.

Also known as Runner’s Knee, PFPS is when the cartilage between the kneecap and the knee becomes irritated and inflamed, resulting in pain at the front of the knee while running.

As well as being a really common injury, if left to its own devices and not treated promptly and properly, it can end up creating knock on effects to other joints (remember the knee bone’s connected to the leg bone etc etc….!). It can even lead to something altogether more serious, Chondromalacia Patella, a condition where the cartilage behind the kneecap actually becomes frayed and damaged.

It all sounds rather depressing, but there is lots of good news. You should be able to identify it, effectively treat it, and take constructive steps to avoid it happening again.

How to identify it - Page 2

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PFPS, Syndrome, Patellofemoral, running, knee, pain, runners knee

Discuss this article

As mentioned in the article, I think the majority of cases are caused by the quads stretch where runners pull their foot back up to their bum. It pulls the kneecap hard on the femur. It's a disastrous stretch. I see it all the time. Don't do it!

Posted: 04/01/2014 at 19:33



I have had knee pain since a cross training session ( lots of squat jumps) on monday night, running since has caused some discomfort so after reading this article I decided to go out for a short run yesterday and tried taking off and landing on my heels tricky but I think I got it right and my knee was fine while running but once I cooled down the pain started again now its a constant dull ache!! anybody know a running osteopath or physio around stratford upon Avon?  Thanks

Posted: 19/01/2014 at 08:54

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