Objectives: To study the effect of additional strengthening of hip abductor and lateral rotator muscles in a strengthening quadriceps exercise rehabilitation programme for patients with the patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Design: Randomized controlled pilot trial.
Setting: Clinical setting with home programme.
Participants: Fourteen patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Intervention: The subjects were randomly assigned to the intervention group (strengthening of quadriceps plus strengthening of hip abductor and lateral rotator muscles) or to the control group (strengthening of quadriceps). Both groups participated in a six-week home exercise protocol.
Main outcome measures: The perceived pain symptoms, isokinetic eccentric knee extensor, hip abductor and lateral rotator torques and the gluteus medius electromyographic activity were assessed before and after treatment. Parametric and non-parametric tests were used to compare the groups before and after treatment with alpha=0.05.
Results: Only the intervention group improved perceived pain symptoms during functional activities (P=0.02-0.04) and also increased their gluteus medius electromyographic activity during isometric voluntary contraction (P=0.03). Eccentric knee extensors torque increased in both groups (P=0.04 and P=0.02). There was no statistically significant difference in the hip muscles torque in either group.
Conclusion: Supplementation of strengthening of hip abductor and lateral rotator muscles in a strengthening quadriceps exercise programme provided additional benefits with respect to the perceived pain symptoms during functional activities in patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome after six weeks of treatment.