A significant number of patients with patellofemoral osteoarthritis (PFOA) have described a history of patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). This leads to speculation that the underpinning mechanical causes of PFPS and PFOA may be similar. Although alterations in gait biomechanics and hip strength have been reported in PFPS, this relationship has not yet been explored in PFOA. Therefore the purpose of this study was compare gait biomechanics and hip muscular strength between PFOA patients and a healthy control group. Fifteen patients with symptomatic, radiographic PFOA and 15 controls participated. All patients underwent a walking gait analysis and maximal hip strength testing. Biomechanical variables of interest included the peak angular values of contra-lateral pelvic drop, hip adduction and hip internal rotation during the stance phase. Hip abduction and external rotation strength were assessed using maximal voluntary isometric contractions. The PFOA group demonstrated significantly lower hip abduction strength compared to controls but no difference in hip external rotation strength. There were no statistical differences between the PFOA and control groups for contra-lateral pelvic drop, hip adduction and hip internal rotation angles during walking. Despite patients with PFOA exhibiting weaker hip abductor muscle strength compared to their healthy counterparts they did not demonstrate alterations in pelvis or hip biomechanics during gait. These preliminary data suggests that weaker hip abductor strength does not result in biomechanical alterations during gait in this population.
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