Gait retraining versus foot orthoses for patellofemoral pain: a pilot randomised clinical trial.

The aim of this study was to determine the feasibility of a clinical trial that compares a 6-week, physiotherapist-guided gait retraining program with a foot orthoses intervention in runners with patellofemoral pain.

Runners aged 18-40 years with clinically diagnosed patellofemoral pain were randomly allocated to either a 6-week gait retraining intervention of increasing cadence and use of a minimalist shoe or prefabricated foot orthoses. Outcomes at baseline and 12-weeks included recruitment, retention, adherence, adverse events, global improvement, anterior knee pain scale, worst and average pain on a 100mm visual analogue scale.

Of the 16 randomised participants, two withdrew prior to commencing treatment due to non-trial related matters (n=1 from each group) and 14 completed the pilot trial. Minor calf muscle soreness was reported by 3 participants in the gait retraining group while no adverse events were reported in the foot orthoses group. There were no deviations from the treatment protocols. There was a large between-group difference favouring gait retraining at 12-weeks in the anterior knee pain scale and the worst pain in the past week, which was reflected in the number needed-to-treat of 2.

This study supports the feasibility of a trial comparing gait retraining with foot orthoses and provides point estimates of effect that informs the design and planning of a larger clinical trial. It appears that a 6-week gait retraining program has a clinically meaningful effect on runners with patellofemoral pain when compared to an evidence-based treatment of foot orthoses.

Subjective Examination of Patellofemoral Pain online course

Subjective Examination of Patellofemoral Pain

In this short online course with Claire Robertson, discover key points in the subjective examination of the knee with a focus on patients with patellofemoral pain.