Holistic approach to understanding anterior knee pain. Clinical implications

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2014 Oct;22(10):2275-85. doi: 10.1007/s00167-014-3011-8. Epub 2014 Apr 24.


Anterior knee pain is one of the most frequent reasons for consultation within knee conditions. The aetiology is not well known, which explains the sometimes unpredictable results of its treatment. Normally, when we see a patient in the office with anterior knee pain, we only study and focus on the knee. If we do this, we are making a big mistake. We must not forget to evaluate the pelvis and proximal femur, as well as the psychological factors that modulate the course of the illness. Both the pelvifemoral dysfunction as well as the psychological factors (anxiety, depression, catastrophization and kinesiophobia) must be included in our therapeutic targets of the multidisciplinary treatment of anterior knee pain. We must not only focus on the knee, we must remember to "look up" to fully understand what is happening and be able to solve this difficult problem. The aetiology of anterior knee pain is multifactorial. Therefore, diagnosis and treatment of patellofemoral disorders must be individualized. Our findings stress the importance of tailoring physiotherapy, surgery and psycho-educational interventions to each patient.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthralgia / etiology*
  • Arthralgia / psychology
  • Arthralgia / therapy
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology*
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome / etiology*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities