Patellofemoral pain is likely due to compressive force acting on the patella related in turn to knee extension moment. The latter variable was assumed to be (i) reduced during short-distance free walking in case of patellofemoral pain syndrome and (ii) increased after therapeutic pain reduction. Peak knee extension moment at beginning of stance phase was recorded by three-dimensional gait analysis in 22 controls and in 23 patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome before and after rehabilitation of knee extensors and flexors to reduce the pain. Pain would occur mainly in stressful activities such as stair negotiation or squatting and was quantified by the anterior knee pain scale. Peak knee extension moment was significantly reduced in all the patients before treatment (n=23) compared to controls, although no one had pain during free walking. In the 17 patients who experienced significant post-rehabilitation pain reduction in their stressful activities, the peak knee extension moment was significantly reduced before treatment compared to controls and significantly increased after treatment, reaching values similar to control values. The peak knee extension moment during free walking appears to be a good kinetic variable related to a compensatory mechanism limiting or avoiding anterior knee pain and may be of interest in assessing knee dynamics alteration in patients with PFPS.
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