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Best Insoles for Patellofemoral Pain Relief

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By Janik Sundstrom
Kelly Hendrickse - Editor for Upstep
Edited by Kelly Hendrickse

Published July 15, 2024.

Osteopath performing IASTM technique to fix knee cap Patellofemoral pain syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) refers to dull, aching pain in the front of the knee, around the kneecap. PFPS is commonly referred to as “runner’s knee” since it often affects people who engage in sports activities regularly.

Extra pressure on the kneecap from the quadriceps (thigh) muscle, like when doing squat exercises, can increase the pain. This benign condition can get progressively worse if rest and conservative management strategies are not applied, potentially hindering one's ability to walk or run properly.

» Are squats hurting you? Find out the causes and fixes for knee pain when squatting

What Causes Patellofemoral Pain?

Patellofemoral pain often occurs when the tissue around your kneecap is too tight, thus pushing it out of its place. It can also develop because of leg malalignment that may cause the kneecap to shift incorrectly when bent.

Patellofemoral pain is more common in young adults who frequently perform athletics. Females also often experience this pain, most likely due to a wider angle from the pelvis to the knee joint, and higher ligament laxity, which increases the mobility of the knee joints.

Some of the most common causes of patellofemoral pain include:

  • Overuse - Doing vigorous running or jumping activities regularly without rest or physical therapy can increase your pain.
  • Muscle imbalances or weaknesses - When the quadriceps muscles are weak, this can cause the kneecap to shift from the groove at the top of your thighbone when the knee bends, which usually causes pain.
  • Injury - Fractures or dislocation in the knee area can lead to patellofemoral pain.
  • Surgery - If you've undergone knee surgery, you may experience this pain.

» Discover if knee pain can be caused by overpronation

Best Insoles for Relieving Patellofemoral Pain

Insoles can be effective for managing patellofemoral pain by helping support the foot and improving the alignment of the leg. This can allow for the correct tracking of the kneecap over the knee joint when bending. The primary symptom of patellofemoral pain is extreme pain and discomfort when walking up and down stairs.

Multi-Sports Custom Orthotics


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Upstep's Multi-Sport Custom Orthotics are the best insoles for patellar tendonitis, as they are specified to your foot shape and made with unique materials. This tailored design offers effective impact absorption and cushioned comfort, which can help alleviate the pressure on your legs and the strain on your knees.


  • Custom-made
  • Durable materials
  • Address foot pain directly
  • 180-day money-back guarantee
  • FSA and HSA eligible
  • Free shipping and returns


  • Short waiting period before receiving orthotics

Multi-Sports Custom Orthotics

4.5/5(4,370 reviews)

Key Features of Patellofemoral Insoles

Since patellofemoral pain can affect anyone, the type of shoe you choose should be based on your lifestyle and needs. To help relieve patellofemoral pain, it's best if you choose a shoe that is sufficiently cushioned and can help absorb the pressure on your knees. Custom insoles can assist with this. Let's look at a few features to consider when choosing the best insoles for you.

Knee Support

By correcting the alignment in the ankles and feet, the pressure on your kneecaps can be lessened, which can help reduce patellofemoral pain. So, the right insoles can aid in pain management by providing support that fits your foot correctly. For example, if you have lower arches, insoles with extra arch support are preferable.

This foot support can then help diminish pain in other areas of your leg, like the kneecap. Supportive insoles can also provide better comfort to help improve your mobility. For example, if you're struggling to climb stairs, increased comfort and support can reduce pain to make your mobility easier.

Custom Orthotics

Custom orthotics are made by professionals using the imprints of your feet. This means you can receive tailored support and cushioning for the areas of your feet that need it the most. If you have flat feet, custom insoles might be best to help relieve pressure and assist with malalignment.

Providing your feet with the right amount of support when weight is applied, like when walking or running, can help improve your gait and decrease pain in your knees. Custom insoles are usually made from durable materials, meaning they're a great long-term pain-relief option.

Proper Cushioning

The shock-absorbing qualities of properly cushioned orthotics can alleviate the strain on your knee joints while walking or running. The increased cushioning can also reduce the shock through the tendons in your kneecaps when under high impact, which can prevent further pain and other potential knee injuries.

This can help make your usual activities easier to handle, as well as provide optimized comfort as you perform these activities.

» Learn more about knee pain as a secondary condition associated with flat feet

Can Insoles Help With Patellofemoral Pain?

Patellofemoral pain can be excruciating and can impact your ability to enjoy athletic activities and even walk up and down stairs without hassle. In addition to rest and physical therapy, a good orthotic insole can help minimize your pain by providing support and comfort from your feet up through your legs.

Custom insoles, like those at Upstep, are a great tailored option to reduce strain on your kneecaps by supporting your feet correctly and assist in improving leg malalignment that may be aggravating your patellofemoral pain.

These insoles are also customized to your foot shape and lifestyle needs, providing you with the cushioning and comfort you need to help relieve your pain.

Multi-Sports Custom Orthotics

4.5/5(4,370 reviews)