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Treatment Orthopedics

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

The vast majority of people – as high as 90 percent – recover fully from patellofemoral pain and are able to resume their previous activities. Most active people respond to nonsurgical treatments. Surgery is considered only in rare cases when patients haven't experienced relief from rest, use of a brace and physical therapy.

If your kneecap isn't tracking properly, your doctor will prescribe a well-supervised physical therapy program lasting six weeks to six months, depending on the degree of misalignment. You'll learn specific movements for strengthening the knee, hamstring and calf muscles, and to prevent recurrence of the problem, you'll probably need to continue doing these exercises for life.

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.

Recommended reading

A Woman's Aching Knees

Why are women winding up with more knee injuries? Researchers suspect one of the most likely causes is the way women are built. Learn more here.

After Surgical Kneecap Alignment

Learn what to expect following Surgical Kneecap Alignment, including how long you will feel pain/discomfort, when to begin physical therapy and more.

Patellofemoral Surgery

There are several surgeries for patellofemoral pain depending on what your surgeon needs to do and if there are other associated injuries. Learn more here.

Preparing for Surgical Kneecap Alignment

Surgical kneecap realignment is performed when all other efforts to put it back into the natural kneecap track have failed. Learn more here.

Preventing Future Patellofemoral Pain

To decrease the risk of patellofemoral pain returning after surgical kneecap realignment, Doctors recommend making rehab exercises an everyday routine.

Take Care of Your Knees

Although collateral ligament injuries can be difficult to avoid, here are several steps you can take to improve the strength and flexibility of your knees.

Seeking care at UCSF Health

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