Anterior Knee Pain

Anterior Knee Pain: Fat Pad vs Patellofemoral Joint vs Patellar Tendon

Pain at the front of the knee is a common complaint we see here in the clinic. The knee is an intricate joint and there are a number of potential irritable structures which can make an accurate diagnosis difficult. The main ‘players’ in the anterior knee pain are the patellofemoral joint, the patellar tendon, and the infrapatellar (below the kneecap) fat pad. In order to get an accurate diagnosis, a thorough history is taken and the behaviour and location of the pain guides assessment and eventual diagnosis. Below is a brief overview of the differentiating factors:



Patellar Tendon

Fat Pad

Aggravating Factors

Stairs, squats, lunges, downhill walking, kneeling

Jumping, sprinting, running, lunges, squats

Standing in extension, flat shoes, ‘hanging off knee’

Easing/Non-aggravating Factors

Posterior chain gym work, reducing overall daily walking  load

Swimming, non-impact training, tempo quad based strength work

Walking up hill, wearing heels, standing in knee flexion, sitting, squats/lunges

Pain Location

Diffuse anterior knee

Pinpoint tendon pain

Localised to fat pad 

As you can see, anterior knee pain can be quite complex as the knee is an intricate structure (and these are only the common complaints – there are plenty more!). Accurate diagnosis is incredibly important as treatment for each issue will differ significantly. If you’re dealing with anterior knee pain, come into the clinic for an accurate assessment and diagnosis, targeted treatment and a tailored rehab plan for your given injury.

Tom Eather – BeFit Training Physio Double Bay

Tom Eather – BeFit Training Physio Double Bay

Tom Eather, a Senior Physiotherapist based in Double Bay, Sydney, offers effective treatment for musculoskeletal problems. With personalized assessments and evidence-based rehabilitation programs, Tom addresses the root cause of injuries to achieve long-lasting results. Specializing in Golf and sports injury physiotherapy, he emphasizes comprehensive healing over temporary fixes. To book a consultation, click the link below.

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