Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Mark Romanick


Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome -- rehabilitation; Case Reports


Background and purpose. Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is a common injury among young female athletes. It is difficult to determine the primary factor that contributes to its development due to the fact that there are multiple causes. Factors influencing the development of PFPS are increased quadriceps (Q) angle, patella alta, abnormal or excessive foot pronation, quadriceps muscle weakness, diminished flexibility of the hamstrings and rectus femoris muscles, malalignment of the femur, weakness of the hips, static and dynamic skeletal malalignment, and altered neuromuscular recruitment strategies.

Case Description. The patient was a young female collegiate track and cross country athlete with her primary complaint of bilateral anterior knee pain. Neuromuscular and biomechanical imbalances were determined to be her primary developmental contributors in PFPS.

Intervention. The patient was educated on her pathology of PFPS and received a neuromuscular re-education program. She received verbal and tactile feedback as she demonstrated the exercises. Her prescribed home exercise program (HEP) targeted hip stability to improve patellar control during dynamic movement.

Outcomes. She improved over the course of treatment.

Discussion. The patient was able to reach her prior level of function and was educated on the etiology of PFPS. I primarily used therapeutic exercise intervention focusing on neuromuscular re-education; however, there were other interventions I could have used in conjunction with exercises that may have been more effective such as tailored patellar taping. Due to PFPS being multifactorial, it is very important to understand the individual nature of its development. Identification of the key impairments related to pain and function may assist in delineating physical therapy treatment approaches for patients with PFPS for effective rehabilitation.