Hoffa’s syndrome is the inflammation/pinching of one of the fat pads in your knee. The “Hoffa” fat pad sits behind and just below your knee cap. Its function is to provide a protective cushion between your knee cap & thigh/shin bones.

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How does the fat pad become injured?

There are normally 2 separate causes of damage to the fat pad.

  1. Trauma to the area

This could be a direct blow to the knee cap area. This causes the fat pad to become damage & inflamed.

  1. Overuse over time

This normally displayed in people with hypermobile knee joints. The excessive movement especially when straightening the knee leads to inflammation of the fat pad.

What are the risk factors involved with the development of Hoffa’s syndrome?

  • Tightness in the quadriceps
  • Previous history of osteoarthritis in the knee
  • Previous damage to the fat pad
  • An anterior pelvic tilt

What symptoms will I feel if I have Hoffa’s Syndrome?

  • Pain at the front of knee/kneecap
  • Swelling below and around the front of the knee
  • Pain when you are trying to fully extend the knee
  • Pain when you are walking, squatting & kicking for long periods
  • Pain when wearing certain shoes such as high heels

What are the treatment options if I am suffering Hoffa’s Syndrome?

  • Reducing the inflammation around the fat pad – This can be done through treatments such as acupuncture, EMS therapy, Ultrasound, cryotherapy. You can aid this process at home by using Ice around the painful region.
  • Stretching the quadriceps & hip flexor muscles – This can also be helped through massage & vibration therapy.
  • Strengthening the hamstrings, glutes and muscles around the knee.
  • Biomechanical work with an injury specialist to ensure your knee cap moves correctly. This will decrease the irritation of the fat pad.

We understand that sometimes it can be difficult to diagnose an injury without any medical training. Therefore if you are unsure or just want some piece of mind please book an appointment to see an injury specialist. They will be able to correctly diagnose the problem and inform you on the appropriate steps moving forwards.


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Covent Garden Injury Clinic: Jubilee Hall Gym, 30 The Piazza, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8BE

Northampton Injury Clinic: St Giles Physiotherapy, 38 York Road, Northampton, NN1 5QJ

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