Demographic and Epidemiological Trends in Patellofemoral Pain  

Authors: Glaviano NR, Kew M, Hart JM, Saliba S

Understanding the demographics of patellofemoral pain is important to determine the best practices in diagnosis and treatment of this difficult pathology. The occurrence of patellofemoral pain has been reported from isolated sports medicine clinics and from within the military, but its incidence has never been examined in the general population within the United States. The purpose of this study was to examine the reported occurrence of patellofemoral pain for those individuals seeking medical care and to compare that to all other pathologies that result in anterior knee pain, such as tendinopathies, patellar subluxation, osteoarthritis, or meniscal and bursal conditions. Occurrence rates were examined across sex, age and region within a large healthcare provider database that contains over 30 million individuals.   During a five-year period, there were 2,188,753 individuals diagnosed with patellofemoral pain. The diagnosis was more common in females compared to males with 1,211,665 and 977,088 cases respectively (p<0.001).  A statistically significant difference between age groups was found, with 50-59 year olds having 578,854 occurrences (p<0.001).  And, during the five-year examination period, there was a steady increase between 2007-2011, p<0.01. The authors found that patellofemoral pain was diagnosed between 1.7% and 7.3% of all patients seeking medical care within the United States.  Females experienced patellofemoral pain more often than males and there was a steady increase of cases in the United States during the 2007-2011 examination period.  The diagnosis of patellofemoral pain increased with age and the 50-59 year old age group having the most cases.

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