Upstate Medical University

Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York

Anterior Knee Pain » About



Onset is variable

  • With or without trauma
  • Abrupt or insidious

Pain also variable

  • Retropatellar ache may also lateralize to the joint lines
  • Worse with activity, comes on at the onset of running, biking, may disappear as one “warms up”, but returns after the activity, then to slowly disappear over hours to days
  • When severe, the pain eliminates the ability to do stressful activities (running, biking), and remains as a constant background ache
  • When less severe, you can do your activity, but you pay the price afterwards with prolonged pain

What makes it better

  • Rest
  • Analgesics/anti-inflammatories
  • Physiotherapy
  • Taping

What makes it worse

  • Stairs – walking up or down
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Getting up from sitting produces a characteristic catch, that disappears after a few steps (the theatre sign)
  • Kneeling
  • Squatting

Associated symptoms

  • Crunching, snapping, popping
    • Often present with changes of position, or direction
  • Giving way with a catch
    • Often misinterpreted as patellar subluxation
  • Giving out while running