Anterior Knee Pain and Taping for Biomechanical Correction: Part 1

One of the most common treatment techniques for the treatment of patellofemoral (knee joint) pain is patellar taping. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) is a common problem experienced by active adults and adolescent, however its etiology has remained controversial. Unlike other knee dysfunctions (such as anterior cruciate ligament injury), which often have a specific onset and mechanism of injury, patients with PFPS generally report diffuse peripatellar pain (located around the kneecap) and retropatellar pain (located behind the knee where kneecap and the thigh bone meet) of an insidious onset. Some authors have described PFPS as an orthopaedic ‘enigma’ because of the continued misunderstanding of its etiology. A commonly accepted hypothesis regarding PFPS etiology has been abnormal patella tracking that causes increased lateral compressive patellofemoral joint stress.


Causes include, but are not limited to:
• Overuse & overload – such as repeated weight-bearing impact
• Chronic Injury that has resulted in poor biomechanics
• Muscle weakness (of the vastus medialis)
• Prolonged sitting – this adds extra pressure between the patella and the femur during knee flexion.
• Poor technique during exercise
• Biomechanical problems – including pronation (when the foot rolls inward while walking or running), supination (when the foot rolls outward while walking or running), and a large “Q Angle” (the angle formed by the thighbone and the patellar tendon).


As a conservative treatment the primary goals for rehabilitation are to reduce pain, re-establish motion, strengthen, and stabilize the joint. The McConnell taping technique, first introduced in 1984 by Jenny McConnell, a physical therapist in Australia, is one method that may often be used in clinical practice. According to McConnell, there are four different components of malalignment that may need to be corrected: medial glide, medial tilt, anterior tilt and rotation. The aim of taping, is to provide support for the patella and knee as a whole, to reduce abnormal patella positioning or tracking.


Anterior Knee pain pic 1 technique.asp


Anterior Knee pain pic 2


McConnell Tape is a rigid, highly adhesive tape that is applied for up to 18 hours or less depending on patient’s comfort. Benefits may include, but are not limited to:

  • Decreases pain during activity
  • Aids in healing certain knee injuries
  • Corrects patellar alignment
  • Allows an earlier return to activity following injury
  • Prevents dislocation of the patella
  • Improves activation of the VMO muscle


Part 2 of this injury management advice will look at a recent systematic review of patello-femoral taping.



Ref: Peters JSJ, Tyson NL. Proximal exercises are effective in treating patellofemoral pain syndrome: A systematic review (2013). Int J Sports Phys Therapy 8(5): 689-700 Dye SF. Patellofemoral ain concepts: an overview . Sports Med Arthrosc Rev. 2001; 9:264-272. Leibbrandt DC, Louw QA. The use of McConnell taping to correct abnormal biomechanics and muscle activation patterns in subjects with anterior knee pain: a systematic review. J Phys Ther Sci. 2015 Jul;27(7):2395-404. technique.asp



The comments above are the implicit advice of Workplace Physiotherapy. The views expressed are based on current evidence-based research and accepted best practice approaches. Unless otherwise stated, these comments are not the view of WorkCover NSW or any other professional body. No reproduction or forwarding of this advice is permitted without the consent of the author.


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