Hip-abductor strengthening protocol for runners with patellofemoral pain syndrome

runnerA 3-week hip-abductor muscle-strengthening protocol was effective in increasing muscle strength and decreasing the level of pain and stride-to-stride knee-joint variability in individuals with PFPS.

These results also indicate that stride-to-stride knee-joint variability may be a better indicator of injury rehabilitation progression than are peak angles. Finally, incorporating hip-abductor muscle-strengthening into PFPS rehabilitation protocols is important.

Key points

  • After a 3-week hip-abduction strengthening program, patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome increased muscle strength and displayed decreases in both pain and stride-to-stride knee-joint variability. No changes were noted in peak knee genu valgum.
  • Stride-to-stride knee-joint variability may be a better indicator of injury rehabilitation than are peak angles.
  • Hip-abductor muscle strengthening should be incorporated into patellofemoral pain syndrome rehabilitation protocols.

Researchers “…hypothesized that over the 3-week rehabilitation protocol, the level of pain experienced by the PFPS patients would decrease. In support of this hypothesis, the level of pain for 14 of the 15 patients decreased 40% over the course of the study. These results are in agreement with those of previous studies, whose authors also suggested that hip-abductor muscle weakness is a contributing factor in the development and treatment of PFPS and should be targeted in its treatment. An asset of our investigation is that the rehabilitation protocol consisted of exercises intended solely to increase the strength of the hip abductors. Thus, these results provide further evidence that hip-abductor muscle-strengthening exercises should be considered for preventing musculoskeletal injury and treating PFPS.”

Source Study shows hip and knee alignment is key, AIHS researcher offers a new strategy for injured runners in Alberta Innovates Health Solutions

Changes in Knee Biomechanics After a Hip-Abductor Strengthening Protocol for Runners With Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, Ferber R, Kendall KD, Farr L. Journal of Athletic Training 2011 Mar-Apr;46(2):142-9. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-46.2.142.

Reed Ferber PhD, ATC, CAT(C) works with the Running Injury Clinic and Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary. Karen D. Kendall, MKin, CAT(C) works with the Running Injury Clinic. Lindsay Farr works in the Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary.

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