The Effects of a Multimodal Rehabilitation Program on Symptoms and Ground-Reaction Forces in Runners With Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context:

Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is one of the most frequent running-related injuries. However, few interventions taking into consideration the specificity of running have been shown to be effective in runners with PFP.

Objective:

To evaluate the effects of a multimodal rehabilitation program including lower-limb-strengthening/motor-control exercises, advice on running biomechanics, and symptoms management on symptoms, strength, and ground-reaction forces in runners with PFP.

Design:

Pre- to post- quasi-experimental.

Setting:

Gait-analysis laboratory and private physical therapy clinic.

Participants:

21 runners with PFP (34.1 ± 6.0 y old, symptoms duration 38.1 ± 45.5 mo).

Intervention:

An 8-wk multimodal rehabilitation program including lower-limb- and core-strengthening and motor-control exercises, as well as advice on running gait and symptoms management.

Main Outcome Measures:

The Activities of Daily Living Scale of the Knee Outcome Survey (KOS-ADLS) questionnaire and visual analog scales for usual pain (VAS-U), worst pain (VAS-W), and pain during running (VAS-R) were used to assess changes in symptoms and function. Vertical ground-reaction forces (VGRF) during running and lower-limb isometric strength were also measured.

Results:

Statistically and clinically significant improvements (P < .001) were reported on KOS-ADLS (+17.8 pts), VAS-U (−19.2 pts), VAS-W (−28.7 pts), and VAS-R (−32.2 pts) after the intervention. No significant changes in isometric strength were observed. The instantaneous vertical loading rate was decreased after the intervention (P = .002), and this reduction was correlated with changes in KOS-ADLS scores (P = .028).

Conclusion:

This multimodal intervention was successful in reducing pain and improving function of runners with PFP. However, no significant changes in lower-limb strength were observed. It appears that changes in VGRF combined with appropriate training advice could explain the clinical outcomes.

The authors are with the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration, Quebec City, QC, Canada.

Address author correspondence to Jean-Sébastien Roy at jean-sebastien.roy@rea.ulaval.ca.