Description: Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is the most common injury in running and jumping sports.  Randomized controlled trials (RCT) suggest that incorporating hip and core strengthening (HIP) with knee-focused strengthening (KNEE), the standard of care rehabilitation protocol, improves PFP outcomes.  However, no RCT studies have directly compared HIP and KNEE programs.  We recently completed a 4-year single-blind, multi-centred RCT study involving four clinical research laboratories: Calgary, Milwaukee, Augusta, Chicago.  The objective of this study was to compare PFP, function, hip and knee muscular strength, and core endurance between KNEE and HIP protocols following 6-weeks of rehabilitation.  We screened 721 PFP patients and 199 met the inclusion criteria to be involved in a 6-week rehabilitation program.  The results show that compared to baseline, pain and function significantly improved for PFP patients in both HIP and KNEE but those in the HIP protocol reported significantly reduced pain one week earlier compared to KNEE.  Both groups exhibited significant increases in strength but those in the HIP protocol exhibited overall greater gains in hip abductor and extensor strength and posterior core endurance compared to KNEE.  We conclude that a 6-week HIP or KNEE rehabilitation protocol resulted in significant improvements in PFP pain, function, and strength.  While outcomes are similar, the HIP protocol resulted in earlier resolution of pain and greater overall gains in strength compared to the standard of care KNEE protocol.  You can read more about this study here.  It has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Athletic Training.


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