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Patellofemoral Syndrome Follow-up

  • Author: Patrick J Potter, MD, FRCSC; Chief Editor: Consuelo T Lorenzo, MD  more...
Updated: May 23, 2016

Further Outpatient Care

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  • Allow time for conservative measures (eg, exercise) to have a therapeutic effect in patients with patellofemoral syndrome. A period of 4-6 weeks usually is adequate for some resolution of symptoms. Longer delays before follow-up often result in reduced compliance with treatment recommendations. Reinforcement of treatment goals and strategies is important.

Further Inpatient Care

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  • The standard procedure for treatment of individuals with patellofemoral syndrome is performed on an outpatient basis. Inpatient care generally is not indicated.

Inpatient & Outpatient Medications

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  • Outpatient medications for individuals with patellofemoral syndrome include common analgesics or NSAIDs (see Medication). Most individuals manage without medication once initial symptoms have been controlled.


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  • Prevention of patellofemoral syndrome (PFS) is accomplished by following exercise recommendations and making changes in activity, as described in previous sections. In female athletes, decreased hamstring-to-quadriceps strength ratios have been associated with an increased prevalence of overuse injuries, suggesting that maintaining adequate hamstring strength may act as a preventative strategy. Braces have been tried on asymptomatic subjects undergoing rigorous basic military training, with a subsequent decrease in the incidence of PFS compared with the subject population that did not use the braces.


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  • Complications in patients with patellofemoral syndrome may result secondary to the effects of NSAID use. Occasional dermatologic reactions occur due to the brace material. Prescribed exercises rarely result in aggravation of symptoms. If a specific activity is determined to be associated with aggravation of symptoms, then accordingly modify the frequency, duration, and intensity of the activity


The prognosis for full functional recovery in cases of patellofemoral syndrome is very good. In general, this syndrome is successfully treated with conservative measures. Because the prognosis is so good, refractory cases should be closely reviewed with regard to compliance and understanding of treatment recommendations.

A randomized, controlled trial suggested that gender and the duration of symptom complaints are predictive of which patients with PFS will respond to exercise therapy. The study, which included 131 patients who were randomized to receive exercise therapy or usual care, found that among patients in the exercise group, females and patients who had complained of symptoms for more than 6 months were more likely to report having achieved functional improvement beyond that of the usual-care patients at 3-month follow-up.[19]


Patient Education

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  • Educate the patient so that he/she understands which activities aggravate patellofemoral syndrome. In addition, emphasize the need for extended adherence to the exercise regimen. The patient's physical therapist should educate the patient about a home exercise program, making sure the patient has a good understanding of the exercises.
  • For patient education resources, see the Foot, Ankle, Knee, and Hip Center, Arthritis Center, and Osteoporosis and Bone Health Center, as well as Knee Pain.
Contributor Information and Disclosures

Patrick J Potter, MD, FRCSC Associate Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Western Ontario School of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, St Joseph's Health Care Centre

Patrick J Potter, MD, FRCSC is a member of the following medical societies: Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, Canadian Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Canadian Medical Association, Ontario Medical Association, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Keith Aj Sequeira, MD, FRCPC Associate Professor, Director of Education, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Parkwood Hospistal, University of Western Ontario

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Patrick M Foye, MD Director of Coccyx Pain Center, Professor and Interim Chair of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School; Co-Director of Musculoskeletal Fellowship, Co-Director of Back Pain Clinic, University Hospital

Patrick M Foye, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, International Spine Intervention Society, American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine, Association of Academic Physiatrists

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Consuelo T Lorenzo, MD Medical Director, Senior Products, Central North Region, Humana, Inc

Consuelo T Lorenzo, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Robert E Windsor, MD, FAAPMR, FAAEM, FAAPM President and Director, Georgia Pain Physicians, PC; Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Emory University School of Medicine

Robert E Windsor, MD, FAAPMR, FAAEM, FAAPM is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pain Medicine, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, American College of Sports Medicine, American Medical Association, International Association for the Study of Pain, Texas Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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