Medial contact and smaller plantar loads characterize individuals with Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome during stair descent

Phys Ther Sport. 2010 Feb;11(1):30-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2009.11.001. Epub 2009 Dec 14.


Objectives: To investigate plantar pressure distribution in individuals with and without Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome during the support phase of stair descent.

Design: Observational case-control study.

Participants: 30 young adults with Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome and 44 matched controls.

Main outcome measures: Contact area, peak pressure and pressure-time integral (Novel Pedar-X system) were evaluated in six plantar areas (medial, central and lateral rearfoot; midfoot; medial and lateral forefoot) during stair descent.

Results: Contact area was greater in the Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Group at medial rearfoot (p = 0.019) and midfoot (p < 0.001). Subjects with Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome presented smaller peak pressures (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: The pattern of plantar pressure distribution during stair descent in Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome subjects was different from controls. This seems to be related to greater medial rearfoot and midfoot support. Smaller plantar loads found in Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome subjects during stair descent reveal a more cautious motor pattern in a challenging task.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Foot
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint*
  • Lower Extremity
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome / etiology
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Posture*
  • Risk Factors
  • Walking*
  • Weight-Bearing*
  • Young Adult