Patellar Pain and Patellar Arthritis – Dr. Sabrina Strickland

Patellar pain and patellar arthritis

Patellar pain or patellar arthritis is when, in the front of the knee, the kneecap slides up and down in a groove (trochlea) in the thigh bone. Sometimes, it can be malaligned or arthritic, causing pain, swelling, and cartilage injury.

How does patellar pain or patellar arthritis feel?

It can feel unstable and hurt, especially when:

  • going down stairs
  • sitting for a long time
  • wearing high heels
  • doing squats or lunges

Often, these conditions caused you pain for years. A change in your weight or activity level can make it feel much worse.

How does patellar pain or patellar arthritis happen?

In some patients, patellar pain or arthritis happens without any trauma and at a young age. In others, it can occur when you get out of shape. It may also happen when you ramp up activity quickly in an effort to get back in shape.

How can it be fixed?

In most cases, you can fix patellar arthritis or pain by:

  • avoiding exacerbating activities
  • going to physical therapy
  • using injection treatments (such as cortisone, hyaluronic acid and PRP)

In some cases, you may require surgery to realign the patella within the groove (tibial tubercle osteotomy). Or, surgery to replace the cartilage on either the kneecap or the front of the thigh bone (trochlea).

More Resources for Patellar Arthritis or Pain

Download or print this document discussing Patellofemoral Arthritis: Diagnosis and Treatment to learn more. You can also find more information at the HSS Patellofemoral Center.