The fat pad syndrome is a set of symptoms associated with nipping ('impingement') of the fat pad between the patella and the femoral condyle.

Page updated September 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

fat pads of the knee
The infrapatellar fat pad or Hoffa fat pad is the main fat pad of the knee, but there are other fat pads also above the patella.


Symptoms relating to fat pad syndrome

Symptoms include pain in the front of the knee which is generally chronic (long standing), and with sharper episodes exacerbated by knee extension, eg straight leg raise exercises or hyperextension, eg kicking or wearing high heels. The soft tissue under the kneecap is tender to palpation, and the bottom of the kneecap may be tilted backwards by contracted scar tissue in the fat pad.

Back to top


Causes of fat pad syndrome

fat pad

The condition may occur after direct trauma to the knee, or after surgical interference with the fat pad.

Back to top


Treatment of fat pad syndrome

With regard to treatment, conservative (non-operative treament) is tried first, but it may become necessary to excise the fat pad.

Back to top


Hoffa's syndrome
Fat pad impingement syndrome

Dr Sheila StroverĀ (Editor)
BSc (Hons), MB BCh, MBA

See biography...