Systematic Review

Proximal Exercises are Effective in Treating Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome: A Systematic Review

Authors: Peters JS, Tyson NL

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a common disorder of the knee with multifactorial etiology. Multimodal treatment, including exercise therapy, has been shown to be effective in the treatment of patellofemoral pain, although some patients continue to experience pain and dysfunction despite treatment. To address this, recent research has started to investigate the lumbo-pelvic and hip girdles in patellofemoral pain. The aim of this systematic review was to investigate the effectiveness of proximal exercises, compared with knee exercises, for patients with patellofemoral pain, in improving pain and function. Eight studies (three randomized controlled trials, one clinical controlled trial, three cohort studies and one case series) of moderate to high methodological quality met the inclusion criteria. Proximal exercise programs showed a consistent reduction of pain and function in the treatment of patellofemoral pain. Knee exercise programs had variable outcomes. The authors concluded that proximal interventions provide relief of pain and improved function in the short and long term and therefore physical therapists should consider using proximal interventions for treatment of patellofemoral pain.

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