The Effect of Diacutaneous Fibrolysis on Local and Widespread Hyperalgesia and Muscle Length in Patients With Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome: Secondary Analysis of a Pretest–Posttest Clinical Trial

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Localized and widespread hyperalgesia has been observed in patients with patellofemoral pain. Diacutaneous fibrolysis (DF) has shown to be effective in reducing pain in several musculoskeletal conditions including patellofemoral pain syndrome, but no studies have evaluated the effects of this technique in reducing localized and widespread hyperalgesia. Objective: To assess the effect of DF on the pressure pain threshold and muscle length tests in patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome. Design: A single-group, pretest–posttest clinical trial. Setting: University of Zaragoza. Participants: Forty-six subjects with patellofemoral pain (20 males and 26 females: age 27.8 [6.9] y). Intervention: Three sessions of DF. Main Outcome Measures: Pressure pain threshold using a handheld pressure algometer (4 sites around the knee, on tibialis anterior muscle, and one remote site on the upper contralateral limb); muscle length test of the iliotibial band, rectus femoris, and hamstring muscles; and patient-perceived treatment effect score. Results: The application of 3 sessions of DF significantly increased the pressure pain threshold in all sites at posttreatment evaluation (P < .001) and at a 1-week follow-up (P < .001). A significant increase in muscle length was also observed at the posttreatment evaluation (P < .001) and 1-week follow-up (P < .001). Ninety-seven percent of the patients reported subjective improvement at posttreatment and at 1-week follow-up. Conclusion: This study found that local and widespread hyperalgesia was significantly reduced after 3 sessions of diacutaneous fibrolysis and at the 1-week follow-up. A significant improvement on muscle length tests was also observed, with high clinical satisfaction among patients.

Fanlo-Mazas, Bueno-Gracia, Hidalgo-García, and Lucha-López are with the Department of Physiatrist and Nursery, Faculty of Health Sciences; and the Unit Research in Physiotherapy; University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain. Ruiz de Escudero-Zapico is with the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Navarra, Tudela, Spain. Rodríguez-Sanz with the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain  López-de-Celis is with the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain; and the Fundació Institut Universitary per a la recerca a l’Atenció Primària de Salut Jordi Gol i Gurina, Barcelona, Spain.

Fanlo-Mazas (pfanlo@unizar.es) is corresponding author.
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