Hoffa’s Fat Pad Syndrome

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The knee is a hinge joint that is responsible for weight-bearing and movement. It consists of bones, meniscus, ligaments, and tendons. The knee is fully designed to fulfill various amounts of functions, including the following:

  • Provide enough stability.


  • Helps to lower and raise your body.


  • Allows twisting of the leg.


  • Makes walking much more efficient.


  • Supports the body in an upright position without the need for muscles to function.


The infrapatellar fat pads (IFP) are two wedged-shaped fatty structures situated below the kneecap (patella), lying on either side of the patellar tendon (right underneath the kneecap). The fat pad’s main function is to reduce the load on the knee and protect the knee joint under regular physiological conditions.

It is a dynamic structure that alters position, pressure, and volume throughout the knee during motion. It is flexible and able to change shape and volume to accommodate movement. When the fat pad becomes impinged, patients experience pain below the kneecap and along the sides of the patellar tendon. This is known as Hoffa’s fat pad impingement syndrome (fat pad impingement).

Hoffa’s fat pad impingement syndrome is a condition in which the infrapatellar fat pad either suffers a contusion or an injury, resulting in damage and swelling. This can then lead to Hoffa’s pad becoming trapped between the femur and the patella every time the leg is extended.

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