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30.10.2020 | Non-Operative Management of Anterior Knee Pain (M Fredericson and T Besier, Section Editors) | Ausgabe 6/2020

Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine 6/2020

Physical Therapist Management of Anterior Knee Pain

Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine > Ausgabe 6/2020
Shane M. McClinton, Daniel G. Cobian, Bryan C. Heiderscheit
Wichtige Hinweise
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Non-Operative Management of Anterior Knee Pain

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


Purpose of Review

Anterior knee pain is a common musculoskeletal complaint among people of all ages and activity levels. Non-operative approaches with an emphasis on physical therapy management are the recommended initial course of care. The purpose of this review is to describe the current evidence for physical therapist management of anterior knee pain with consideration of biomechanical and psychosocial factors.

Recent Findings

The latest research suggests anterior knee pain is a combination of biomechanical, neuromuscular, behavioral, and psychological factors. Education strategies to improve the patient’s understanding of the condition and manage pain are supported by research. Strong evidence continues to support the primary role of exercise therapy and load progression to achieve long-term improvements in pain and function. Preliminary studies suggest blood flow restriction therapy and movement retraining may be useful adjunct techniques but require further well-designed studies.


Anterior knee pain includes multiple conditions with patellofemoral pain being the most common. An insidious onset is typical and often attributed to changes in activity and underlying neuromuscular impairments. A thorough clinical history and physical examination aim to identify the patient’s pain beliefs and behaviors, movement faults, and muscle performance that will guide treatment recommendations. Successful physical therapist management involves a combination of individualized patient education, pain management, and load control and progression, with an emphasis on exercise therapy.

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