Anterior knee pain in adolescents is generally recognised as a common but benign self-limiting condition. Although many operative procedures for its treatment have been proposed, there is little statistical evidence that they are more effective than expectant management. A group of 54 adolescent girls has been followed for two to eight years from presentation with anterior knee pain. Although some pain persisted in the majority, in many the symptoms declined in severity. This study provides a baseline for comparison with the results of operative intervention; it is suggested that surgical treatment is unproven and unnecessary.