Medical term: Patello-femoral Pain Syndrome (aka runner knee).

I am trying to find more scientific description about the syndrome, not just pain but what is it actually? How can a doctor see it from an image or images?

According to my doctor, my knee looks ok in x-tray images but having now 3 week rest -- I can still feel such chronic "runner pain". According to this source, runner knee can be diagnosed in a number of ways:

After a physical exam, a doctor can diagnose runner's knee via an X-ray, MRI, or CT (computed tomography) scan.

Now what is the difference between the methods and is there a reason to get MRI or CT? I am now going to meet ortologist but I am unsure of this, this is quite generalized issue in itself! Is there any objective way to say whether person X has runner knee or not? Even I am unsure of this, I initially thought that it is more my right knee but I am getting similar pain in the left knee now while right resting. I have been very proactive with this because I do not want it to get any worse.

Some suggestion about the medical scans appreciated, anyone with similar situation? My friend had similar case and he insisted on some "deep scan" (x-tray did not work but the deep scan identified the runner knee), now I have no idea what this "deep scan" actually is.

Some medical experts such as ortologists around to identify runner knee with different methods? Some objectivity to this issue would be highly appreciated. The term pain is a bit vague and subjective, possible to identify with scans?


  1. How to recognize a Runner's Knee?
  2. Treating a Runner's Knee - Apply Heat or Cold?


  1. Quite popular paper about something called "bone scan", more here.

  2. Paper about diagnosing the syndrome, stressing the importance of personalized historical picture here

  3. Patellofemoral Instability: Evaluation and Management (1997), article here

  • Hi @hhh, while I appreciate you took the effort to search the site and elsewhere for more information. However, I think you should look for more actionable information. What you probably wants to know is: when do I know whether my runner's knee has healed or how can I tell when rest won't be sufficient to heal my runner's knee? Knowing how doctors do their work isn't really helpful, unless you're a doctor yourself
    – Ivo Flipse
    Dec 29, 2011 at 21:10
  • The link to the '[q]uite popular paper about something called "bone scan"' at springerlink.com is broken. I am also unable to find any copy saved on the Wayback Machine.
    – user38110
    May 25, 2022 at 4:42

1 Answer 1


You better consult a specialized doctor to answer your question. I am not a doctor. However, I also have PFPS.

If you can read German, read this recent article. p 18-22. One of the closing sentences:

"Ein umfassendes physiotherapeutisches Therapiekonzept setzt eine sorgfältige muskuläre Funktionsanalyse voraus."

Translation: "For a comprehensive physiotherapeutic concept for a therapy, a careful muscular functional analysis is required."

Treatment/therapy will focus on the muscular causes, in a highly individual way.

It seems to me that imaging will not help that much unless you have more severe damages inside your knee.

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