Sports Medicine

, Volume 46, Issue 12, pp 1797–1808 | Cite as

Is There a Biomechanical Link Between Patellofemoral Pain and Osteoarthritis? A Narrative Review

  • Narelle Wyndow
  • Natalie Collins
  • Bill Vicenzino
  • Kylie Tucker
  • Kay Crossley
Review Article


The patellofemoral (PF) joint is the knee compartment most commonly affected by osteoarthritis (OA). Even mild PF OA is associated with considerable pain and functional limitations. Despite its prevalence and impact, little is understood of the etiology or structural and functional features of PF OA. The clinical symptoms of PF OA, such as anterior knee pain during stair ambulation and squatting, share many similarities with PF pain in adolescents and young adults. PF joint OA is most commonly diagnosed in people aged >40 years, many of whom report a history of PF pain. As such, there is growing evidence that PF pain and PF OA form a continuum of disease. This review explores the possible relationship between the presence of PF pain and the development of PF OA. We review the evidence for altered neuromotor control and biomechanical factors that may be associated with altered PF loading in people with PF pain and PF OA. In doing so, we highlight similarities and differences that may evolve along the continuum. By improving our understanding of the neuromotor and biomechanical links between PF pain and PF OA, we may highlight potential targets for new rehabilitation strategies.


Anterior Knee Pain Trochlear Groove Vastus Medialis Obliquus Serum Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein Patellar Facet 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Compliance with Ethical Standards


Narelle Wyndow is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council postgraduate scholarship (ID1055276). Natalie Collins is supported by a University of Queensland Postdoctoral Fellowship. Kylie Tucker was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellowship (ID1009410). No sources of funding were used specifically to assist in the preparation of this article.

Conflict of interest

Narelle Wyndow, Natalie Collins, Bill Vicenzino, Kylie Tucker, and Kay Crossley declare that they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this review.

Supplementary material

40279_2016_545_MOESM1_ESM.docx (55 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 55 kb)
40279_2016_545_MOESM2_ESM.docx (247 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 247 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Narelle Wyndow
    • 1
  • Natalie Collins
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bill Vicenzino
    • 1
  • Kylie Tucker
    • 3
  • Kay Crossley
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of PhysiotherapySchool of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringMelbourne School of Engineering, The University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Biomedical SciencesThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  4. 4.Level E, Office of Allied Health, HS3|05School of Allied Health, College of Science, Health and Engineering, Latrobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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