Context: Very few authors have investigated the relationship between hip-abductor muscle strength and frontal-plane knee mechanics during running.
Objective: To investigate this relationship using a 3-week hip-abductor muscle-strengthening program to identify changes in strength, pain, and biomechanics in runners with patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS).
Design: Cohort study.
Setting: University-based clinical research laboratory.
Patients or other participants: Fifteen individuals (5 men, 10 women) with PFPS and 10 individuals without PFPS (4 men, 6 women) participated.
Intervention(s): The patients with PFPS completed a 3-week hip-abductor strengthening protocol; control participants did not.
Main outcome measure(s): The dependent variables of interest were maximal isometric hip-abductor muscle strength, 2-dimensional peak knee genu valgum angle, and stride-to-stride knee-joint variability. All measures were recorded at baseline and 3 weeks later. Between-groups differences were compared using repeated-measures analyses of variance.
Results: At baseline, the PFPS group exhibited reduced strength, no difference in peak genu valgum angle, and increased stride-to-stride knee-joint variability compared with the control group. After the 3-week protocol, the PFPS group demonstrated increased strength, less pain, no change in peak genu valgum angle, and reduced stride-to-stride knee-joint variability compared with baseline.
Conclusions: A 3-week hip-abductor muscle-strengthening protocol was effective in increasing muscle strength and decreasing pain and stride-to-stride knee-joint variability in individuals with PFPS. However, concomitant changes in peak knee genu valgum angle were not observed.