McConnell Treatment for Anterior Knee Pain

Patellofemoral pain, also referred to as anterior knee pain, is a common musculoskeletal condition in the general and sporting communities. It affects up to 25% of the population, 36% of adolescents and is more prevalent in females.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome is characterised by anterior or peri-patellar knee pain in the absence of other knee pathology. This pain can be diffuse or sharp and is usually associated with at least two of the following activities:
bullet squatting
bullet ascending or descending stairs
bullet kneeling
bullet sitting for long periods
bullet walking/running
It may be associated with crepitus on knee movements, occasional swelling particularly after exercise, and pseudo locking or giving way.

Role of physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is the mainstay of conservative treatment for this condition and the Australian physiotherapy profession has received international recognition for anterior knee pain management.

The most effective treatment for patellofemoral pain is a McConnell program, designed and monitored by a physiotherapist according to the patient's individual needs. This recognised anterior knee pain management program was first introduced by Jenny McConnell, an Australian physiotherapist (McConnell, 1986). The approach uses a specialised, functional exercise program to improve the muscle control around the knee and taping to reposition the patella.

Benefits of physiotherapy

When treatment is given by a physiotherapist trained in patellofemoral pain, the results are excellent. In the majority of cases, only five to six treatments are required to enable the patient to return to normal and sporting activities.

Physiotherapy management, based on that described by McConnell, has been shown to be effective in two large case-series (McConnell 1986, Gerrard 1989) with up to 91% of anterior knee pain patients having an excellent or good response. Australian physiotherapists are currently undertaking the first randomised, controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness of this treatment compared to a placebo control. This project is being funded by the physiotherapy profession via the Physiotherapy Research Foundation.


McConnell J (1986): The management of chondromalacia patellae: A long-term solution. The Australian Journal of Physiotherapy 32(4): 215-223.
Gerrard B (1989): The patello-femoral pain syndrome: A clinical trial of the McConnell program. The Australian Journal of Physiotherapy 35(2): 71-80.

Finding a Physiotherapist

Would you like the names of physiotherapists who have a special interest in
McConnell Treatment for Anterior Knee Pain?  This falls under the categories of Women's Health, Continence and Incontinence -  Call us on (03) 9527 7532 or contact us here.

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Move well. Stay well.
By courtesy of the Australian Physiotherapy Association