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
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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
Fax: 011 806 1796
Cell: 082 925 4940
Email: barrowms@hotmail.com

After Hours:
Sunninghill Casualty: 011 806 1652

Address:
Sunninghill Hospital
Suite 5, East Wing
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