Holistic approach to understanding anterior knee pain

Anterior knee pain is one of the most common causes for consultation within knee conditions. The aetiology is not well known, which accounts for the sometimes unpredictable results of its treatment. Typically, when a patient is seen in the office with anterior knee pain, study is focused on the knee. If clinicians do this, they are making a big mistake. It must not be forgotten to evaluate the pelvis and proximal femur, as well as the psychological factors that modulate the course of the illness. Both the pelvifemoral dysfunction as well as the psychological factors (anxiety, depression, catastrophization and kinesiophobia) must be included in our therapeutic targets of the multidisciplinary treatment of anterior knee pain. Clinicians must not only focus on the knee, we must remember to “look up” to fully understand what is happening and be able to solve this difficult problem. The aetiology of anterior knee pain is multifactorial. Therefore, diagnosis and treatment of patellofemoral disorders must be individualized.

The findings stress the importance of tailoring physiotherapy, surgery and psycho-educational interventions to each patient.