Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome - Diagnosis

How is patellofemoral pain syndrome diagnosed?

The doctor will first take a history from the patient to learn about the location of the pain, when it began, and whether it is injury-related. Knowing the patient's activity level, whether there is instability, and what motions increase pain help the doctor make the diagnosis.

In the physical examination the doctor will:

  • usually be able to reproduce the symptoms by pressing on the kneecap, particularly when the knee is bent and then straightened.
  • check for tenderness and patellar motion
  • assess alignment and flexibility
  • evaluate the muscular strength and coordination of the leg

X-rays show the bony structures of the knee, permitting the doctor to rule out:

  • arthritic conditions
  • loose bodies (bone fragments in the joint)
  • patellar mal-alignment
  • varus or valgus mal-alignment (bow-legs or knock-knees)
  • infection or a bone tumor

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or TEC (Technician 99 Radioisotope) Scan may be recommended if symptoms persist after conservative (non-operative) treatment. Both of these studies can show bone changes such as:

  • a bone bruise or stress fracture
  • cartilage loss or deterioration
  • infection or a tumor

An MRI can also reveal:

  • the condition of the ligaments, cartilage, and menisci
  • a swollen plica (a normal fold of tissue which can be painful when it becomes inflamed and enlarged).
  • Tendonitis or partial tearing with nodule formation in the patellar tendon

About Doctor Barrow...

Dr Michael Stuart Barrow is an Orthopaedic Surgeon who specialises in knee surgery. He practices from Sunninghill Hospital and the Waterfall Sports Centre.
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Contact Details

Dr. Michael Barrow

Tel: 011 806 1772/0 and 011 806 1657
Fax: 011 806 1796
Cell: 082 925 4940

After Hours:
Sunninghill Casualty: 011 806 1652

Sunninghill Hospital
Suite 5, East Wing
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