Hoffa's Fat Pad Syndrome

What is Hoffa’s Fat Pad Syndrome?

Hoffa’s fat pad syndrome also called fat pad impingement, infrapatellar fat pad syndrome, and Hoffa's disease, is a condition characterized  pain in the centre, and front of your knees, due to inflammation of the Hoffa’s fat pad.

Hoffa’s fat pad is a pad of fatty tissue present under the patella (kneecap). It acts as a protective layer that separates the patella from the thigh and shin bones. If Hoffa’s fat pad is compressed or injured, it swells leading to inflammation and soreness. It also tends to increase in size leading to further pinching.  As this continues, pain develops in the front of the knee .

The fat pad can get  painful after  an injury such as a direct blow, chronic inflammation and a hyperextension jnury

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Hoffa’s Fat Pad Syndrome?

The common signs and symptoms of Hoffa’s fat pad syndrome include pain at the front and side of the knee. The other symptoms include:

  • Pain when straightening the knee
  • Pain with prolonged walking
  • Pain during climbing the stairs and sitting with the knee bent
  • Swelling below and around the knee
  • Occasional jolts of sharp pain

How is Hoffa’s Fat Pad Syndrome Diagnosed?

This will involve a physcial examination of the knee and investigations such as an X Ray and MRI scan.

What are the Treatment Options for Hoffa’s Fat Pad Syndrome?

First line of treatment involves rest and medications, and avoiding activities that tend to exacerbate the pain and inflammation. Physical therapy will be helpful. If the symptoms are not improving , a steroid injection may help reduce the inflammation.

If all conservative  measures fail to resolve the symptoms, surgery is an option which involves trimming of the fat pad.