Friction Syndromes of the Knee

J Knee Surg. 2022 Apr;35(5):491-497. doi: 10.1055/s-0042-1743222. Epub 2022 Feb 21.


The knee is a complex joint with many fascial and ligamentous interactions. The movement in multiple planes makes the knee a prime site for friction syndromes, especially in active individuals. The most common friction syndrome is the iliotibial band friction syndrome. This occurs commonly in runners and cyclists and can be diagnosed clinically in a patient with lateral knee pain during activity. The anterior fat pads of the knee can also be the site of friction syndromes, most often in the Hoffa fat pad. Edema here can be located in the superolateral aspect of the fat pad when associated with patellar abnormalities, or diffusely when impingement is due to other causes. Edema of the quadriceps or prefemoral fat pad may also cause anterior knee pain and may be diagnosed with magnetic resonance imaging. The posteromedial friction syndrome and medial tibial crest syndrome are rare causes of medial knee pain highly active individuals.

MeSH terms

  • Edema
  • Friction
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint* / diagnostic imaging
  • Knee Joint* / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods
  • Pain / etiology
  • Syndrome