Anterior knee pain is a symptom complex, dominated by 'pain in the front of the knee'.


What are the characteristics of anterior knee pain?

This characteristic pain tends to be associated with:

  • forced activities -- squatting, weight bearing activities, running.
  • prolonged sitting – producing stiffness, pain, or both, relieved by straightening (extending) the knee.
  • on getting up from sitting, the pain may be severe, then diminishes and even disappears as the individual keeps walking.
  • the “theatre sign” in some - where the individual seeks to sit at the end of any row of chairs, to allow the relief afforded by knee extension and even standing up,
  • problems with walking - where the person may exhibit weakness, giving way of the knee, and 'catching'.  
  • stair climbing producing pain when weight is applied on the leg, when going up or down stairs.
  • snapping, popping, or crunching in the knee occuring with activity as simple as walking, that may be accompanied by pain, which may be so severe that the individual feels that the knee locks.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome

An alternative viewpoint on Anterior Knee Pain

This course is a discussion by Dr Thomas Smallman of the symptom complex of anterior knee pain.

Physiothrapist, Lee Herrington, explores those problems that may cause pain in the front of the knee.

Why does everyone seem so vague about kneecap pain?

The literature about the kneecap is all a muddle, both online and in professional journals!

Symptoms associated with patellofemoral pain

Part 5a of a course on Patellofemoral Pain by Dr Ronald Grelsamer of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

Patellofemoral Pain

Dr Ronald Grelsamer goes into substantial detail in this richly illustrated course, outlining and discussing the various possible causes of pain in the kneecap region.



Anterior knee pain in the young athlete: diagnosis and treatment. Kodali P, Islam A, Andrish J. Sports Med Arthrosc Rev. 2011 Mar;19(1):27-33. doi: 10.1097/JSA.0b013e3182045aa1..

See also -

Common Knee Symptoms - ebook

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Webinar - Common Knee Symptoms - Focus on Pain.