Study design: A randomized controlled trial.
Objectives: To investigate the effectiveness of daily patella taping and exercise on pain and function in individuals with patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Background: Patella taping and muscle-strengthening programs are commonly used to treat patellofemoral pain syndrome. There is, however, little evidence for the effectiveness of these approaches.
Methods and measures: Twenty-four men and 6 women aged 17 to 25 years (mean +/- SD, 18.7 +/- 1.2 years) participated in the study. Subjects were randomly and exclusively assigned to 1 of 3 treatment groups: patella taping combined with a standardized exercise program, placebo patella taping and exercise program, or exercise program alone (n = 10 in each group). Taping was applied and exercises performed on a daily basis for 4 weeks. Outcome measures were visual analog scales for pain and the functional index questionnaire, recorded at weekly intervals by a therapist who was blinded to group allocation.
Results: Separate mixed-model ANOVAs, with repeated measures on time, indicated statistically significant improvements in pain and function over time for all groups (P<.01) and also significant differences between groups for all measures (P<.01). Separate independent samples t tests showed that the group receiving taping and exercises had better pain and function scores following treatment than the placebo taping-and-exercise group and the exercise-alone group. There were no significant differences between the placebo taping-and-exercise group and exercise-alone group at any time point.
Conclusions: These findings indicate that over a period of 4 weeks a combination of daily patella taping and exercises was successful in improving pain and function in individuals with patellofemoral pain syndrome. The combination of patella taping and exercise was superior to the use of exercise alone.