The Non-Operative Treatment of Anterior Knee Pain

Wisam Al-Hakim*, 1, Parag Kumar Jaiswal 1, Wasim Khan 2, David Johnstone 3
1 The Catterall Unit, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, Middlesex, HA7 4LP, UK
2 University College London Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Sciences, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, Middlesex, HA7 4LP, UK
3 Stoke Manderville Hospital, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP21 8AL, UK

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© Al-Hakim et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Catterall Unit, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, Middlesex, HA7 4LP, UK; Tel: 0203 594 7156; Fax: 0203 594 0168; E-mail:


Anterior knee pain is a common presenting complaint, and in many cases no identifiable cause can be found. In these circumstances it is commonly known as anterior knee pain syndrome or patellofemoral pain syndrome. The management for this condition is most commonly non-operative. Treatment strategies include physiotherapy, pharmacotherapy, orthoses and combinations of the above. There are many described methods in the literature with a wide spectrum of outcomes, which in itself is testimony to the lack of any generally accepted gold standard of care for these patients. It is thus unclear to the health care professional treating these patients which is the best treatment to offer. In this review we aim to summarise historical and most up to date literature on the subject and in so doing allow the health care professional pick whichever treatment strategy they feel most beneficial and also provide a guide for appropriate patient education.

Keywords: Anterior knee pain, patellofemoral syndrome, physiotherapy, orthoses, pharmacotherapy.