A Simple Snip Spells Relief for Pain behind the Kneecap

Many people suffer from arthritis behind the kneecap, called patellofemoral osteoarthritis. This kind of arthritis causes knee pain when going up or down stairs. Patients also have pain after sitting with the knee bent, or when standing up after sitting.

About 80 percent of adults with this condition are helped by nonsurgical treatment such as medication, special exercises, and avoiding painful activities. Other patients may get relief from a simple surgery called lateral retinacular release.

With this procedure, the surgeon cuts the retinaculum. This is a dense, fibrous band of tissue along the outer edge of the kneecap. The arthritis doesn't go away with the release of the retinaculum. However, pain relief is reported by many people who have this surgery.

Retinacular release can delay major surgery such as total knee replacement. Patients who are too young for joint replacement or too sick for major surgery may choose this easy operation for arthritis relief.


Joseph Aderinto, BSc, MRCS, and Andrew G. Cobb, BSc, FRCS. Lateral Release for Patellofemoral Arthritis. In Arthroscopy. April 2002. Vol. 18. No. 4. Pp. 399-403.


The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice or care from a healthcare provider. The information on this website is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments, or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visiting with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your healthcare provider because of any information you obtain on this website. Discuss any activities presented in this website with your healthcare provider before engaging in the activity.