Does a Knee Brace for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Work?

Sometimes called “runners knee,” patellofemoral pain is very common in people who participate in sports. Supportive knee braces for patellofemoral pain syndrome are a common way of relieving pain, but not the only form of recognized treatment. 

Patellofemoral pain describes a condition involving pain at the front of the knee, around your patella or kneecap, and often occurs in people who are active in sports that involve a lot of running and jumping. It is the most common cause of knee pain seen by our Orthopaedic Center for the Rockies Sports Medicine Knee Specialists.

Let’s take a look at all the common causes, symptoms, treatments, and even certain steps that may help prevent you from experiencing patellofemoral pain syndrome. 

Common Causes

Although no direct cause, there are a few common occurrences that have been shown to increase your chances of experiencing patellofemoral pain syndrome. It has been associated with:

  • Overuse: Sports that involve repetitive stress on your knee joint, causing irritation under the kneecap.
  • Muscle imbalances or weaknesses: Occurs when the muscles surrounding your hip and knee don’t keep your kneecap aligned properly.
  • Injury: Trauma to the kneecap such as dislocation or fracture has been linked to patellofemoral pain.
  • Surgery: If you opted to use your own patellar tendon as a graft during knee surgery, the aftereffects could increase patellofemoral pain.

What does patellofemoral pain feel like? The pain you experience is usually a dull, aching pain in the front of your knee and can be aggravated when you walk up or down stairs, kneel or squat, or even sit with a bent knee for long periods of time.


Sometimes knee pain just happens, but there are certain steps you can take to be proactive and help to prevent the feeling of uncomfortable patellofemoral pain. Proactive steps like warming up, stretching, maintaining your strength, and ensuring you have supportive footwear have been shown to decrease the probability that you will experience patellofemoral pain.

The structure of a person’s knee with patellofemoral knee pain

One of the most important preventive measures you can take while playing sports is maintaining alignment and proper technique to help the patella track properly within your knee joint. Optimizing your technique and being cognisant of proper form while jumping, running, and pivoting is extremely important and can help prevent patellofemoral knee pain.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Even if you are doing everything in your power to prevent patellofemoral pain, it still sometimes will occur. To help determine the cause of your knee pain, doctors and specialists might recommend running imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. These imaging tests will help the doctor determine what type of knee pain you are experiencing and rule out other conditions that have similar signs and symptoms.

Treatment for patellofemoral pain often begins with simple measures and R.I.C.E. treatment. The acronym R.I.C.E. stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Resting, icing, and elevating your knee as much as possible is often the first recommendation. 

The next step in treatment for patellofemoral pain that just won’t go away on its own, is adding things into your treatment plan like rehabilitation exercises, taping, ice, and supportive braces. Wearing a knee brace for patellofemoral pain syndrome is a great way to:

  • Stabilize your kneecap
  • Alleviate patellofemoral pain
  • Protect against future movements that might cause more damage

Does a knee brace for patellofemoral pain syndrome work for treatment? The answer in most cases is, yes. Supportive braces may help improve pain, however, they are not something that should be used on their own as a treatment. A lot of the most popular knee braces out there, help reduce knee pain by compressing the patellar tendon and relieving stress on the tendon. If you need help choosing a knee brace that supports your patellofemoral pain condition, speak with your doctor for recommendations.

Highly Specialized Care For Your Patellofemoral Pain

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is very common, especially if you’re active in sports that require a lot of intense jumping, running, and stress on your knee joints. Does a knee brace for patellofemoral pain syndrome work? Yes, it does work to alleviate pain, but it is also important to note that there are many forms of treatment depending on the severity of your knee pain and what caused it.

At Orthopaedic & Spine Center of the Rockies, our Sports Medicine-Knee Specialists are devoted to providing you with the highly specialized care you need for the residents of Northern Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. Our surgeons have the knowledge that comes from years of experience focused on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of the full spectrum of the knee, shoulder, and other sports- and recreational-related conditions.

 If you’re experiencing knee pain without a clear cause or injury, contact us today. We’re here to help you move like you used to.

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