How effective is an evidence-based exercise intervention in individuals with patellofemoral pain?

Phys Ther Sport. 2021 Sep:51:92-101. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2021.05.013. Epub 2021 Jul 13.


Objectives: Guidelines for a comprehensive rehabilitation programme for patellofemoral pain (PFP) have been developed by international experts. The aim of this study was to analyse the effect of such a rehabilitative exercise programme on pain, function, kinesiophobia, running biomechanics, quadriceps strength and quadriceps muscle inhibition in individuals with PFP.

Design: Observational study.

Setting: Clinical environment.

Participants: Twenty-seven participants with PFP.

Main outcome measures: Symptoms [numeric pain rating scale (NPRS)and the pain subscale of the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS)], function measured by using the KUJALA scale and KOOS, kinesiophobia measured by using the Tampa scale, three-dimensional biomechanical running data, quadriceps isometric, concentric and eccentric strength and arthrogenic muscle inhibition (AMI) were acquired before and after the six-week exercise programme.

Results: Although pain did not significantly improve all patients were pain-free after the six-week exercise programme (NPRS: p = 0.074). Function, kinesiophobia and quadriceps AMI improved significantly after the six-week exercise programme (KUJALA: p = 0.001, KOOS: p = 0.0001, Tampa: p = 0.017, AMI: p = 0.018). Running biomechanics during stance phase did not change after the exercise intervention. Quadriceps strength was not different after the six-week exercise programme (isometric: p = 0.992, concentric: p = 0.075, eccentric: p = 0.351).

Conclusion: The results of this study demonstrate that the current exercise recommendations can improve function and kinesiophobia and reduce pain and AMI in individuals with PFP. There is a need for reconsideration of the current exercise guidelines in stronger individuals with PFP.

Keywords: Exercises; Function; Pain; Patellofemoral pain; Strength; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Exercise
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Humans
  • Muscle Strength
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome* / therapy
  • Quadriceps Muscle