Dose-response effects of medical exercise therapy in patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome

This study was conducted to evaluate two different therapeutic exercise regimens in patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). A multicentre, randomised controlled clinical trial hosted by three primary healthcare physiotherapy clinics and consisting of forty-two patients with PFPS who were assigned at random to an experimental group or a control group was conducted. Forty participants finished the study. Both groups were given three treatments per week for 12 weeks. The experimental group was given high-dose, high-repetition medical exercise therapy, and the control group received low-dose, low-repetition exercise therapy. The groups varied in terms of number of exercises, number of repetitions and sets, and time spent performing aerobic/global exercises. Outcome parameters were pain (measured using a visual analogue scale) and function [measured using the step-down test and the modified Functional Index Questionnaire (FIQ)]. At baseline, there were no differences between the groups. After the interventions, there were statistically significant (P<0.05) and clinically important differences between the groups for all outcome parameters, all in favour of the experimental group: -1.6 for mean pain [95% confidence interval (CI) -2.4 to -0.8], 6.5 for step-down test (95% CI 3.8 to 9.2) and 3.1 for FIQ (95% CI 1.2 to 5.0).

The results of the study indicated that exercise therapy has a dose-response effect on pain and functional outcomes in patients with PFPS. This indicates that high-dose, high-repetition medical exercise therapy is more efficacious than low-dose, low-repetition exercise therapy for this patient group.

Principles of Exercise Rehabilitation

Join Lee Herrington to explore the fundamentals of physical stress theory, the effects of loading, mobility and rigidity and the influence of pain, to improve the foundations of all your…