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The anterior, or front, of the knee can be a source of pain. The patella, or kneecap, and various tendons can be damaged or injured, resulting in anterior knee pain. A medical diagnosis is needed to determine the source of knee pain located near the center or front of the knee. Our orthopedic specialists at DOCS Health can provide a diagnosis and anterior knee pain treatment at our medical center in Los Angeles.

Most anterior knee pain is caused by the patella and the attached tendons. Two tendons connect to the patella. The quadriceps tendon attaches the patella to the femur, and the patellar tendon attaches the kneecap to the tibia. The patella slides over the ends of the femur and tibia when the knee bends and straightens and is pulled by the tendons.

Causes of Anterior Knee Pain

There are a variety of causes of anterior knee pain. Those at higher risk are athletes, adolescents, overweight individuals and people with previous knee fractures or dislocations. Some of the possible causes of anterior knee pain include:

  • Patellar tendonitis, or inflammation of the patellar tendon
  • Chondromalacia of the patella (breakdown of the patellar cartilage)
  • Quadriceps tendonitis
  • Patella tracking issues or kneecap instability
  • Lateral compression syndrome – patella sliding to the outside
  • Arthritis

Anterior knee pain occurs under, below or around the kneecap or patella. There may also be a grinding sensation when flexing the knee. Symptoms may be more noticeable when squatting, walking/running downhill, going down stairs or standing after resting.

Anterior knee pain treatment depends on the cause of the anterior knee pain. Many types of anterior knee pain can be reduced with rest, ice and taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Physical therapy can be used to strengthen the leg to put less stress on the patella and other knee components. Steroid injections can help with inflammation to relieve pain. When conservative treatment is not effective, surgery may be an option to repair tendons, cartilage or the kneecap.

If you suffer from anterior knee pain, treatment is available at DOCS Health. Contact us at our medical facility in Los Angeles to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic physicians.