Patella-Femoral Joint Pain (PFJ)

PFJ pain is a syndrome caused by mechanical irritation between the under surface of the patella and the femor. The pain experience is often worse with walking downhill / down stairs or when physical demands are increased , such as running.

The condition is extremely common within female adolescents and female runners. A developing and wider pelvis can lead to longer and weaker gluteal muscles which in turn allows the leg to rotate inwards. This generates a force on the knee cap that pulls it slightly to the outside edge of its normal gliding position. This continued ‘mal-tracking’ will eventually cause irritation to the point of generating a painful warning. If the problem is still not corrected then the early onset of joint degeneration can develop.

The problem does not just affect women, de-conditioning of the thigh muscles or an imbalance in muscle strength, such as occurs with keen cyclists, can all lead to a mal-tracking of the patella and subsequent pain.

As with all conditions, some peolpe don’t always have the best start and abnormalities within the patella joint surface during our development years is not uncommon.


The highlighted exercises aim to allow for better lower limb biomechanics, improvements in gluteal recruitment and strengthening of the entire kinetic chain to improve patella- femoral alignment. It is important that aggravating factors are avoided while commencing rehabilitation.

Please advance through these exercises at your own individual pace. If the knee continues to be problematic or if there is significant effusion (swelling) please consult with your healthcare professional.