What are the symptoms of patello-femoral joint disorder?

Symptoms of patello-femoral joint disorder include chronic knee pain at the front of the knee joint, instability and a restriction of mobility particularly stair climbing.

What are the options for treatments?

There are several surgical options available to address the patella-femoral symptoms after non-surgical treatment with physiotherapy and orthotics have failed to provide adequate pain relief. These include

Lateral release

This procedure addresses a tight lateral retinaculum, which is the ligament on the kneecap’s outside edge. This helps to improve the patellar tracking.

Partial lateral patellar facetectomy

An alternative to lateral release which focuses on excising the outer edge of the patella.

Arthroscopic debridement

This procedure focuses on the removal of torn menisci, or smoothing rough articular. It seeks to remove bodies which are capable of interfering with joint motion. This type of surgery benefits from arthroscopic instrumentation, meaning only small incisions are needed.

Patellofemoral realignment

This surgery is capable of treating the instability which can be a symptom of patello-femoral joint disorder. It uses autogenous tissue grafts in the correction with or without bony surgery.


Chondral defects can be treated by this procedure, which involves the removal of unstable cartilage and drilling some holes in the damaged part to try and grow some fibrous cartilage.

Patellofemoral replacement

This is a form of partial knee replacement and an alternative to total knee replacement surgery. It is used only when a patient’s bone or cartilage damage is located on the under surface of the knee cap and the thigh bone groove in which it rests.

Recovery time

The recovery time for patello-femoral joint disorder surgery is entirely dependent on the type of surgical intervention being used and can necessitate the use of walking aids, and/or the taking of medicine to improve pain, as well as physical therapy.