BACKGROUND: Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is a common clinical presentation. Various neuromuscular factors have been reported to contribute to its aetiology. STUDY DESIGN: Systematic review METHODS: A literature search was carried out from 1998 up to December 2007. Eligible studies were those that: (1) examined the effects of hip strengthening in subjects with PFPS; (2) examined the effects of physiotherapy treatment aimed at restoring muscle balance between the vastus medialis oblique (VMO) and vastus lateralis (VL) in subjects with PFPS; (3) examined the effect of taping on electromyogram (EMG) muscle amplitude in subjects with PFPS; and (4) compared the effects of open versus closed kinetic chain exercises in the treatment of subjects with PFPS. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: No randomised controlled trials exist to support the use of hip joint strengthening in subjects with PFPS. Physiotherapy treatment programmes appear to be an efficacious method of improving quadriceps muscle imbalances. Further studies are required to determine the true efficacy of therapeutic patellar taping. Both open and closed kinetic chain exercises are appropriate forms of treatment for subjects with PFPS.