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Patellofemoral Pain

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Patellofemoral pain occurs around the knee and kneecap (patella). Also called runner’s knee, this type of pain is common in young athletes. It can be caused by training too hard or making sudden changes to a training routine (leading to an overuse injury), or due to a kneecap that is out of alignment.

Your child may have symptoms such as:

  • Pain during exercise
  • Pain after sitting for a long time
  • Stiffness in the knee
  • Weakness in the knee
  • A popping or crackling sound when they move their knee

Fortunately, these symptoms can be healed with simple treatments or changes to your athlete’s training.


Physical Exam
Your child’s doctor will ask many questions about your child’s knee pain, such as when it started and when it hurts. They may also examine your child’s knee and kneecap to determine the source of pain.

Your child’s doctor may order an X-ray to ensure they do not have a fracture or other injury that is causing pain.


Pain Medicines
Your child’s doctor may prescribe pain medicines to help reduce knee pain.

The main treatment for patellofemoral pain is resting the knee to allow it time to heal.

Applying ice to the knee can help reduce pain and swelling.

Physical Therapy
While your child heals from knee pain, they can do certain physical therapy exercises to strengthen the leg muscles, improve endurance, and increase the range of motion. These exercises may also help prevent future pain.

Changes in Training
If your child has an overuse injury like runner’s knee, they likely train too hard. Your athlete will need to reduce how hard or how long they train to prevent problems in the future. Over time, your athlete can slowly increase the intensity of training.

Why Choose the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute?

Home to a sports medicine certified pediatrician. The University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute is home to a sports medicine certified pediatrician, who completed specialized fellowship training to help athletes under the age of 18. You can rely on our expertise to help your young athlete recover, rebuild strength, and get back in the game. 

Multidisciplinary support designed just for young athletes. We focus on caring just for children and teens, helping them avoid injuries and return to sports as quickly as possible. Each member of your child’s care team has years of experience and expertise caring for children and adolescents. From physical therapists and pediatric dietitians, to pediatric radiologists and orthopedic surgeons, you can trust that your child will receive treatment designed for their growing body.

Honored to be on your team. Even though we may treat some of your child’s sports heroes, our experts at the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute are proud to offer all of our patients the same level of expertise at one of the nation's leading sports medicine programs. We combine top-notch care with research, clinical trials, and innovative treatments for your young athlete, at any skill level.

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