Knee pain along the front (anterior) part of the knee is common and can be caused by many different problems. In this article Dr. Wm. Post, a private practice orthopedic surgeon reviews the diagnosis and treatment of anterior knee pain.
Dr. Post gives a table full of information to compare one knee problem from another. Type of pain, signs and symptoms, and test results are presented for each knee condition. The usual treatment for each one is also listed. Dr. Post makes it clear that an accurate diagnosis is the key to successful treatment.
Anatomy and the specific causes of pain based on anatomy are reviewed in this article. Not all knee pain is caused by visible or measurable changes. On the other hand, changes can be measured on X-ray without pain or discomfort of any kind.
Surgery isn't always the best answer for knee pain, even when X-rays show an alignment problem. The author reviews results of nonsurgical treatment reported by other studies. He does the same with surgical management of anterior knee pain.
Much has been discovered in the past 10 years about knee pain. More knowledge is needed to treat it effectively. Most evidence points to nonsurgical treatment as the preferred choice for the best outcomes.
William R. Post, MD. Anterior Knee Pain: Diagnosis and Treatment. In Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. December 2005. Vol. 13. No. 8. Pp. 534-543.'