Context: The bodyweight squat exercise is a common component for treatment and prevention of patellofemoral pain; however, it can also place a high load on the patellofemoral joint. Restricting anterior motion of the knees relative to the toes during squatting appears to reduce patellofemoral loading. However, exercise professionals typically rely on verbal instructions to alter squat technique. Objective: To evaluate the influence of verbal instructions regarding squat technique on patellofemoral joint loading. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Motion analysis laboratory. Participants: Eleven uninjured females. Intervention: Participants performed bodyweight squats before (baseline) and after receiving verbal instructions to limit anterior knee motion. Two different types of verbal instruction were used, one intended to promote an internal focus of attention and the other intended to promote an external focus of attention. Three-dimensional kinematics and kinetics were recorded using a multicamera system and force plate. Main Outcome Measures: Sagittal plane patellofemoral joint forces and stress were estimated using a musculoskeletal model. Results: Participants demonstrated a reduction in patellofemoral joint forces (35.4 vs 31.3 N/kg; P = .01) and stress (10.7 vs 9.2 mPa; P = .002) after receiving instructions promoting an internal focus of attention, compared with their baseline trials. Participants also demonstrated a reduction in patellofemoral joint forces (35.4 vs 32.3 N/kg; P = .03) and stress (10.7 vs 9.6 mPa; P = .04) after receiving instructions promoting an external focus of attention (vs baseline). However, there were no significant differences in patellofemoral forces (P = .84) or stress (P = .41) for trials performed with an internal versus external attentional focus. Conclusion: It appears that verbal instruction regarding knee position influences patellofemoral joint loading during squatting.
Thomas G. Almonroeder, Emily Watkins and Tricia Widenhoefer
Thomas G. Almonroeder, Lauren C. Benson and Kristian M. O’Connor
The mechanism of action of a foot orthotic is poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to use principal components analysis (PCA) to analyze the effects of a prefabricated foot orthotic on frontal plane knee and ankle mechanics during running. Thirty-one healthy subjects performed running trials with and without a foot orthotic and PCA was performed on the knee and ankle joint angles and moments to identify the dominant modes of variation. MANOVAs were conducted on the retained principal components of each waveform and dependent t tests (P < .05) were performed in the case of significance. Mechanics of the ankle were not affected by the foot orthotic. However, mechanics of the knee were significantly altered as subjects demonstrated an increase in the magnitude of the knee abduction moment waveform in an orthotic condition. Subjects also demonstrated a significant shift in the timing of the knee abduction moment waveform toward later in the stance phase in the orthotic condition. These orthotic effects were not related to subject’s foot mobility, measured using the navicular drop test. The mechanism of action of a foot orthotic may be related to their effect on the timing of frontal plane knee loading.