Anterior Knee Pain in Athletes: Hoffa’s Fat Pad Syndrome

The infrapatellar fat pad is soft tissue that lies beneath the kneecap. Following a direct injury to the knee, this pad can become impinged between the distal thigh bone and the kneecap resulting in a painful and sensitive joint. The knee pain is usually worsened by extending the knee joint. Athletes who participate in contact sports are susceptible to this type of injury.

Once a doctor has diagnosed a patient with Hoffa’s Syndrome, non-surgical treatment will begin. Treatment involves resting, icing, and muscle strengthening exercises. If non-invasive methods don’t improve symptoms, arthroscopic surgery can be done to correct the impingement. In this surgery, two tiny holes on either side of the lower part of the kneecap allow the surgeon to visualize the problem using a camera system and a small motorized shaver to remove the impinging fat pad.


Reference:; Dr. Chang Haw Chong; “Hoffa’s Syndrome | Fat Pad Impingement Syndrome – A Cause of Anterior Knee Pain”;