Hip- and knee-muscle-strengthening programs are effective in improving short-term patient-reported and disease-oriented outcomes in individuals with patellofemoral pain (PFP), but few to no data exist on moderate- to long-term postrehabilitative outcomes. The first purpose of the study was to assess differences in pain, function, strength, and core endurance in individuals with PFP before, after, and 6 mo after successful hip- or knee-muscle-strengthening rehabilitation. The second purpose was to prospectively follow these subjects for PFP recurrence at 6, 12, and 24 mo postrehabilitation.
For 24 mo postrehabilitation, 157 physically active subjects with PFP who reported treatment success were followed. At 6 mo postrehabilitation, pain, function, hip and knee strength, and core endurance were measured. At 6, 12, 18, and 24 mo, PFP recurrence was measured via electronic surveys.
Sixty-eight subjects (43%) returned to the laboratory at 6 mo. Regardless of rehabilitation program, subjects experienced significant improvements in pain and function, strength, and core endurance pre- to postrehabilitation and maintained improvements in pain and function 6 mo postrehabilitation (Visual Analog Scale/Pain—pre 5.12 ± 1.33, post 1.28 ± 1.14, 6 mo 1.68 ± 2.16 cm, P < .05; Anterior Knee Pain Scale/Function—pre 76.38 ± 8.42, post 92.77 ± 7.36, 6 mo 90.27 ± 9.46 points, P < .05). Over the 24 mo postrehabilitation, 5.10% of subjects who responded to the surveys reported PFP recurrence.
The findings support implementing a hip-or knee-muscle-strengthening program for the treatment of PFP. Both programs improve pain, function, strength, and core endurance in the short term with moderate- and long-term benefits of improved pain and function and low PFP recurrence.
Hamstra-Wright and Aydemir are with the Dept of Kinesiology & Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL. Earl-Boehm is with the Dept of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI. Bolgla is with the Dept of Physical Therapy, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, GA. Emery and Ferber are with the Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.