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Did patellofemoral pain syndrome in my youth lead to my current knee osteoarthritis?

Q) Patellofemoral pain syndrome of the knee was first diagnosed when I was in my early 20s. I'm now in my early 50s and have been diagnosed with arthritis in my knees. How can there be no connection, as the information suggest, as I used to run 100 metres representing my school? 
Patricia, Birmingham (Autumn 2011

A) Patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as anterior knee pain and chondromalacia patellae, is a common symptom in teenagers, and in particular girls. Statistically and epidemiologically there's no connection between this condition (however named) and osteoarthritis developing later in life. Obviously, this doesn't apply to everyone, as your case suggests, but we have to advise people using the facts for the population as a whole. Everyone is different, of course, and there may be special features that make arthritis more likely, but this is really an individual matter.

This answer was provided by Dr Philip Helliwell for the Autumn 2011 edition of our magazine, Arthritis Today, and was correct at the time of publication.

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