Hip and Knee Strengthening Is More Effective Than Knee Strengthening Alone for Reducing Pain and Improving Activity in Individuals With Patellofemoral Pain: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis

The National Library of Medicine published this 2017 review stating that hip and knee strengthening is effective in decreasing pain and improving activity in people with patellofemoral pain.


Study Design Systematic review with meta-analysis. Background The addition of hip strengthening to knee strengthening for persons with patellofemoral pain has the potential to optimize treatment effects. There is a need to systematically review and pool the current evidence in this area. Objective To examine the efficacy of hip strengthening, associated or not with knee strengthening, to increase strength, reduce pain, and improve activity in individuals with patellofemoral pain. Methods A systematic review of randomized and/or controlled trials was performed. Participants in the reviewed studies were individuals with patellofemoral pain, and the experimental intervention was hip and knee strengthening. Outcome data related to muscle strength, pain, and activity were extracted from the eligible trials and combined in a meta-analysis. Results The review included 14 trials involving 673 participants. Random-effects meta-analyses revealed that hip and knee strengthening decreased pain (mean difference, -3.3; 95% confidence interval [CI]: -5.6, -1.1) and improved activity (standardized mean difference, 1.4; 95% CI: 0.03, 2.8) compared to no training/placebo. In addition, hip and knee strengthening was superior to knee strengthening alone for decreasing pain (mean difference, -1.5; 95% CI: -2.3, -0.8) and improving activity (standardized mean difference, 0.7; 95% CI: 0.2, 1.3). Results were maintained beyond the intervention period. Meta-analyses showed no significant changes in strength for any of the interventions. Conclusion Hip and knee strengthening is effective and superior to knee strengthening alone for decreasing pain and improving activity in persons with patellofemoral pain; however, these outcomes were achieved without a concurrent change in strength. Level of Evidence Therapy, level 1a-. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2018;48(1):19-31. Epub 15 Oct 2017. doi:10.2519/jospt.2018.7365.

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