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anterior knee pain

Anterior knee pain describes a very common condition in physiotherapy clinics and tends to affect people who play sports though different populations may also suffer with anterior knee pain including those who are overweight.


What is anterior knee pain?

Any condition that causes pain on the front of your knee can be described as anterior knee pain. Several different conditions cause anterior knee pain and it can be difficult to distinguish exactly what is causing your particular pain as several structures may be involved.

The knee cap sits in a groove on the femur (the bone behind it) and normally the knee cap moves within the groove smoothly. Different factors can cause your patella alignment to be altered and this can cause inflammation of the patellofemoral joint tissues.


What causes anterior knee pain?

Your knee cap tracking or alignment can be altered by:

  • Poor muscle control/muscle imbalance- this can develop gradually or after an operation or injury
  • Muscle tightness- this can occur gradually or after a growth spurt in adolescents or children or after an operation or injury
  • A direct contact injury to the area


What symptoms does anterior knee pain present with?

Anterior knee pain is often described as a dull ache though sometimes it may help like a sharp pain or the patella may ‘pop’. The knee may also lock or click.

Pain is usually felt:

  • Behind the patella
  • Underneath the patella
  • Around the sides of your patella

Activities that aggravate the pain include:

  • Walking down stairs/hills
  • Bending the knee
  • Standing up after being sat down for a while
  • Running


How is anterior knee pain diagnosed?

Being able to tell if anterior knee pain is caused by a patellar tendinopathy or patellofemoral pain can be difficult as they can present similarly.

Your physiotherapist can carry out a full subjective and objective examination of your knee to determine the cause.

How is anterior knee pain diagnosed?

Being able to tell if anterior knee pain is caused by a patellar tendinopathy or patellofemoral pain can be difficult as they can present similarly.

Your physiotherapist can carry out a full subjective and objective examination of your knee to determine the cause.


What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for anterior knee pain?

There are several different treatment options for anterior knee pain. It is important to follow your treatment plan and persist with exercises as often anterior knee pain can take a while to treat. Your physiotherapist will create a treatment plan based on your symptoms and can include:

  • Core stability exercises
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Stretching exercises
  • Patella mobilisation
  • Orthotic advice
  • Electrotherapy
  • Patellar taping
  • Anti-inflammatory advice
  • Acupuncture

Some chronic or severe cases may require surgery and this is often done with keyhole surgery. Your joint can be washed out or some of the structures can be released if they have become tight.


Benefit of physiotherapy for anterior knee pain?

There are several benefits of physiotherapy for anterior knee pain and the particular benefits you feel will be based on your symptoms and goals.

Treatment benefits for anterior knee pain include:

  • Reduced pain
  • Increased strength
  • Improved function
  • Prevention of the injury re-occurring

Don't let pain win...

Our Expert Physiotherapists specialise in providing the latest in physiotherapy treatments and techniques in order to get you pain free as soon as possible, cure the cause of your pain and help you to return to pre-injury levels of activity.

Furthermore, we'll also give you a bespoke exercise and rehabilitation program, and advise you on how to prevent re-injury and remain pain free.

Get in touch with us now on 01245 830280 or 07980 898212 or alternatively send us a message.


At Farrell Physiotherapy we work with some of the uk's top insurance companies to ensure you're covered.

We can accept payment from AXA (PPP), Bupa, PruHealth, simplyhealth and Standard Life, if you have any questions about alternative payment methods, please get in touch with us using the contact form at the bottom of the page and we'll get back to you asap!


I was referred to Ben after a road traffic accident for pain in my neck. The service I received was excellent. He not only treated my neck pain but also helped me to correct my bad posture which was not aiding my recovery.
Ben is extremely friendly and gives a very professional service and I can’t thank him enough for resolving the problem. I would highly recommend him.

- Carol Joyce


I have recently completed a course of treatment with Ben Farrell and am pleased to highly recommend him to others. I went to see Ben when I was suffering with extreme pain due to a trapped nerve in my neck which caused pain to radiate into my shoulder, arm and hand. I got an appointment very quickly and Ben was able to diagnose the problem and work on alleviating the pain. Part of the treatment has involved improving my longstanding poor posture which I’ve had since a child and believed was something that could not be changed. Ben has also advised me on how to continue to work on this to avoid this problem from reoccurring in the future.

- Judith Woosnam


I visited the practice on personal recommendation following a doctor’s diagnosis of an as then unspecified “shoulder injury”. I had seen my GP as the increasing pain in my arm and shoulder was not only preventing me from lifting my arm above 90%, but was also increasingly stopping me from sleeping at night.

After an initial diagnosis session where Ben Farrell had quickly identified the actual problem, I then undertook a course of hands on physiotherapy and an increasing program of exercise. In view of the complexity of the problem (which I was advised had been going on for far longer than I has know), the physiotherapy program was, therefore, pretty comprehensive, however, always with excellent support and guidance from Ben along the way.

I am very pleased with the results and I am now both playing much better golf and getting a full night’s sleep. And, I have no problems lifting my arm its full range!!!! So, the next thing on the agenda will be the golf game at Benton Hall.

- Stephen


Before visiting Ben I had been suffering from pain in my achillies tendons, which had stopped me from running my first half marathon. I had previously visited other physios local to me but had made no improvement. On my first visit ,Ben immediately diagnosed that my problem was coming from an old lower back injury. I was impressed that he was determined to treat the root cause of the injury (back) and provide a long term cure, and not just focus on a short term treatment of my achilles. Ben’s friendly but straight talking manner made my visits very enjoyable. I was so impressed that I took my 14 year old son to see Ben when he had an injury prior to a very important football trial. I would not hesitate to highly recommend Ben to anyone .

- Mike Smith


Couldn’t have asked for a better service than I got in just 4 weeks I spent with Mr Farrell.

My first appointment with Mr Farrell was 4 weeks prior to running the London marathon and I was in no fit state to be able to run it due to a knee injury. Mr Farrell gave me a number of exercises to completely daily and a handful of one on one sessions as well. He also advised me on picking a better pair of running shoes to support my foot shape and create less pain in my knee.

A combination of the hard work put in by Mr Farrell and myself I managed to complete the marathon in just over 4 hours. A great achieve considering I couldn’t run for 4 months prior to the race due to my knee. My only regret was not going to see Mr Farrell earlier! Then I may have be able to probably train for it. Would highly recommend Mr Farrell to anyone, a very professional service and great results.

- Fraser Murray


One of the main things I learnt when you treated me was your ability to dispel some of the old chestnuts about joint pain. Through your physiotherapy and advice I now walk more and cycle a lot. I do not rest up when I have a flair up, I do the maximum exercise I can without causing to great a discomfort to my joints. I avoid Painkillers if at all possible.

I can honestly say that you have helped me to take a new outlook on life. Thank you.

Ben Farrell was very thorough and professional when I went to him for treatment on my tennis elbow. He treated my posture as well as the elbow. The exercises he taught me both enabled the pain to go away and stay away, thus doing himself out of work! He and all his staff were very pleasant and friendly and I would recommend him unreservedly.

- Shane Murphy


Ben is an excellent physiotherapist who provided a considered care plan that enabled me to achieve my goals. Ben in his unique professional and personable manner demonstrated judgement and considerable experience to assist my recovery

After suffering persistent shoulder pain for several months I went to Farrell Physiotherapy on the recommendation of my husband.

After only a short course of treatment and undertaking daily exercises I am now pain free.

I would gladly recommend Farrell Physiotherapy to any person requiring physiotherapy treatment.

- C Wiltshire


I received excellent treatment for a foot and knee complaint that I thought would need an operation. It was very debilitating. However, after my course of physiotherapy sessions and continuation of exercises to do at home, I am now pain free and back to my normal exercise routine at the gym.

- C Dobinson

Where we are

We have three clinic locations within the Essex area, please use the map below to view contact details for the clinic that you would prefer to visit. 

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday
6am to 9pm 
9am to 12pm
Same day & Emergency appointments available most times.


Unit 2, The Old Coal Yard,
Little Waltham Road,
Broomfield, Chelmsford

South Woodham Ferrers

Rugby Club Pavillion,
Saltcoats Playing Fields,
South Woodham Ferrers,
Essex, CM3 5WA


Witham Leisure Centre,
Spinks Ln, Witham,
Essex, CM8 1EP

Get In Touch

If you have any questions prior to booking just send us a message using the form and we'll be in touch asap.

If you would prefer to talk to us on the phone we can be reached on 01245 830280 or 07980 898212 during business hours.

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