A proximal strengthening program improves pain, function, and biomechanics in women with patellofemoral pain syndrome

Am J Sports Med. 2011 Jan;39(1):154-63. doi: 10.1177/0363546510379967. Epub 2010 Oct 7.


Background: It is hypothesized that patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) have hip and core muscle weakness leading to dynamic malalignment of the lower extremity. Thus, hip strengthening is a common PFPS treatment approach.

Purpose: To determine changes in hip strength, core endurance, lower extremity biomechanics, and patient outcomes after proximally focused rehabilitation for PFPS patients.

Study design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods: Nineteen women (age, 22.68 ± 7.19 years; height, 1.64 ± 0.07 m; mass, 60.2 ± 7.35 kg) with PFPS participated in an 8-week program to strengthen the hip and core muscles and improve dynamic malalignment. Paired t tests were used to compare the dependent variables between prerehabilitation and postrehabilitation. The dependent variables were pain; functional ability; isometric hip abduction and external rotation strength; anterior, lateral, and posterior core endurance; joint range of motion (ROM; rearfoot eversion, knee abduction and internal rotation, and hip adduction and internal rotation); and peak internal joint moments (rearfoot inversion, knee abduction, and hip abduction and external rotation) during the stance phase of running.

Results: Significant improvements in pain, functional ability, lateral core endurance, hip abduction, and hip external rotation strength were observed. There was also a significant reduction in the knee abduction moment during running, although there were no significant changes in joint ROM.

Conclusion: An 8-week rehabilitation program focusing on strengthening and improving neuromuscular control of the hip and core musculature produces positive patient outcomes, improves hip and core muscle strength, and reduces the knee abduction moment, which is associated with developing PFPS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Hip Joint / physiology
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome / rehabilitation*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Running / physiology
  • Young Adult