Patellofemoral syndrome

by Uperform

Rencontrez un kiné du sport à Bruxelles chez Uperform

Patellofemoral syndrome is the most common pathology encountered in running. Characterized mainly by deep and localized pain around the kneecap, it can last several weeks and make life difficult for those who are passionate about endurance events.

In some cases, the pain is only present with physical exertion such as long-distance running or hiking for several kilometers. In others, the discomfort can affect daily activities: in particular climbing and descending stairs as well as prolonged sitting with bent knees (a sign of cinema), clearly deteriorating the person’s quality of life. achievement.






Several risk factors can co-exist in the same person.

– Training planning; 80% of running injuries are attributable to poor training schedule management. A rapid increase in the weekly training load or a lack of regularity in the frequency of training can lead to an overload on the knee (or another joint in the lower limb) that it will not be able to absorb due to lack of energy. habit or internal resilience.



– Running technique


There are several parameters in running technique that increase the load directly applied to the patellofemoral joint. Most occur during contact with the ground, after the aerial phase: heel strike, lack of verticality of the tibia, lack of knee flexion and taking support away from the center of gravity. All of these “flaws” can be improved by increasing your cadence (see below). This will allow you to better distribute the load between the ankle, knee, hip and back and prevent one joint from working for all the others.

– Biomechanics: Certain movements, if performed incorrectly, can place the patella in a faulty position which could prevent it from moving normally in its gutter. These execution errors are often attributed to a lack of strength and/or motor control of the knee extensor (quadriceps) and hip abductor (gluteus medius) muscles.


When resuming running training, it is advisable not to exceed 2/10 of pain. Any pain caused by running must have returned to its pre-training within one hour of stopping training.





– Increase the frequency of your workouts and reduce the duration. For example, instead to run 2x10km per week, run 4x5km.


– Decrease your running speed.


– If running is too sensitive, there are walk-run programs. The idea is to alternate moments of running with moments of walking. For example, start with 1minute of walking and 30 seconds of running (to be repeated several times) then evolve by doing running as much time as walking to end up reducing the walking time and not keep that running continuously.

– Prefer flat ground and avoid, at first, too large differences in height.
You can gradually reintroduce them later.

– Increase your running pace. This is measured in steps per minute. A protective running cadence is considered to be between 170 and 190 steps per minute.
To achieve this, there are quite simple tricks such as “running while making less noise” or “running as if you were going through a tunnel”. Each person reacts differently to these different tips, see with your physiotherapist which one suits you best!


Beyond preventing recurrences of knee pain, these recommendations will also help you improve your times!


As described in our article “Training more and better, the key to injury less”, there is a direct relationship between injury prevention and performance improvement.

Uperform physiotherapists are trained to manage this type of pain, assess possible causes and offer you a treatment plan based on your weaknesses.


We care, u perform !



Cet article est basé sur le livret d’information « managing my patellofemoral pain » du Dr Christian
Barton et Michael Rathleff ainsi que la capsule vidéo éducative « course à pied et douleurs aux
genoux : que faire ? » des mêmes auteurs. Plus d’information sur le site web

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