How to Properly Treat Anterior Knee Pain

Danh NgoKnee Pain, Pain Relief Division

Patients receive over 96,600 knee surgeries each year. It’s one of the most common methods of providing knee pain relief for a variety of conditions.

Anterior knee pain is one type that responds to nonsurgical methods. It’s focused in the front of the knee, but the exact cause is difficult to narrow down.

Diagnosing anterior knee pain as the cause of a patient’s discomfort is the first step in providing them relief and requires a thorough examination and a variety of tests. A doctor can then develop a complete plan to provide relief.

Anterior knee pain responds to several treatment methods with varied success depending on the patient and the case. These include physical therapy and rehab, exercise, rest, orthotics, and taping or bracing the knee.

Combining one or more of these methods can provide you with quick relief. Read our guide to learn several helpful ways to relieve anterior knee pain.

Diagnosing Anterior Knee Pain

Knee pain in the front or center of the knee is known as anterior knee pain. It’s a focused form of pain with a variety of causes and symptoms.

Other than serious conditions such as arthritis, some of the most common causes of anterior knee pain are overuse, reduced muscle strength, alignment problems, and repeated injuries.

Diagnosing anterior knee pain can be difficult due to the variety of symptoms it presents and its similarities to other conditions. An accurate diagnosis is an important first step in determining how to relieve knee pain.

A professional should examine your knee. They can determine where your pain is coming from, how much function you have left, and what conditions may be contributing to your pain.

Diagnostic tools should also be used, especially MRIs and ultrasounds. They’ll give doctors a more accurate picture of what’s causing your pain.

Once you’ve been diagnosed with anterior knee pain, your doctors can start to develop a treatment plan that may help provide relief. They’ll need to customize it to your individual needs and symptoms to provide complete relief.

Treating Anterior Knee Pain

Managing anterior knee pain can be difficult due to the variety of symptoms it causes. There are several methods, and knowing them ahead of time ensures you and your doctors can develop an effective treatment program.

The exact causes of anterior knee pain aren’t well defined, and it can lead to a variety of symptoms throughout the body. Perhaps that’s why it responds to such a wide variety of treatment methods.

These methods include physical therapy, rehab programs, exercise, rest, and taping or bracing the knee. Using a combination of treatments is one of the best ways to provide relief for anterior knee pain.

Physical Therapy and Rehab Programs

Physical therapy and rehab programs both serve as effective treatments for front knee pain. They involve performing specialized exercises to help you begin to move better.

Physical therapy and rehab are arguably the most effective treatment methods for anterior knee pain. They may be the first one your doctor recommends.

You may assume that your physical therapy program only needs to focus on your knee since this is where your pain is focused. This is not true because every part of your body affects every other, and strengthening one also provides relief to another.

Recent research also suggests that you must strengthen your thigh and hip muscles as well. It reduces the strain on your leg, including your knee, which also reduces pain.

Every joint affects every joint around it, and an injury in one area can cause improper movements that cause or exacerbate another injury. That’s why your physical therapy should take a full-body approach.

Choose your physical therapy program carefully and get the best one for you. Ensure that they include a range of exercises that use your entire body and reduce your pain.


Physical therapy is an effective treatment, but any form of exercise can reduce anterior knee pain. It will provide a similar increase in range of motion and help your bones and muscles heal.

Try to maintain the correct form when you perform exercises for knee pain relief to avoid causing further injury. Get back to your normal routine as soon as you feel well enough and you’ll notice a difference.


While exercising the knees is important, resting them is essential as well. Don’t overwork them, or you’ll risk worsening your symptoms.

There are ways to make your attempts to rest your knees even more effective. Home remedies may help reduce pain. Try placing an ice pack on the affected area to reduce inflammation.

Shoe Inserts

Orthotics and shoe inserts reduce the pain you may experience while you exercise to reduce your pain. Consider adding them to your routine for even better results.

Get the best possible orthotics for your size and individual needs. An improperly fitted option will do you more harm than good.

Shoe inserts shouldn’t interfere with your physical therapy or exercise routine if they’re fitted properly. They should instead make it easier by reducing the pain you experience when moving.

Taping and Bracing

Another treatment method is to tape or brace the kneecap. This prevents improper movements and can reduce pain.

Wearing tape or a brace while exercise your knees shouldn’t be uncomfortable. If it is, this is most likely a symptom of an improper fit.

These additional remedies can add to the relief that other treatments such as physical therapy and medications may provide. Add them to your current treatment plan for a further reduction in your pain.

Where Can I Get Treatment?

Knee pain is a common ailment affecting patients of all ages, but surgery is not the only option to find relief. Physical therapy, medication, rest, braces, and exercise also help.

While it can affect anyone, anterior knee pain is one of the most common sports injuries that athletes suffer. You need an effective team that understands your needs and can get you back to your normal lifestyle as soon as possible.

We have a variety of rehab options for you to choose from. Check out our sports medicine services and schedule a telephone consultation today.

We specialize in recurrent muscle tightness and the pain the comes with it. Get your expertise second opinion with a click of the orange button below.


Danh Ngo PT, DPT, OCS, SCS

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Board Certified Specialist in Orthopedic and Sports Medicine

Onbase University Certified Pitching Specialist

Certified Advanced Movement Specialist – RockTape

Certified Mobility Specialist – Rocktape

Mind Body Health Results Coach