Fat pad impingement of the knee


Fat pad impingement is a common cause of pain at the front of your knee. The fat pads sit behind the patella tendon and knee cap, and acts as a shock absorbers during knee movement. The fat pads are highly innervated, making them susceptible to inflammation and pain.


Too much activity or sport can lead to pinching of the Hoffa's fat pad, leading to impairment. Hoffa's fat pad impingement commonly occurs alongside other conditions, such as arthritis, patella tendinitis, and meniscal tears. Direct trauma into hyperextension can also be a factor leading to impingement, as well as increased running load downhill.


Management is often conservative, consisting of exercise therapy, manual therapy and taping. Initially, focus should be on reducing inflammation of the fat pad through taping, cold therapy, and patella mobilisation. Treatment should also incorporate knee mobilisation and exercise therapy. Most will recover well through conservative means and will not need medical intervention.