The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of posterolateral hip muscle strengthening versus quadriceps strengthening in reducing pain and improving health status in individuals with patellofemoral pain (PFP). A comparative control trial of individuals with a diagnosis of PFP (N=36; 18 men, 18 women) was conducted at a rehabilitation center. Patients were alternately assigned to a posterolateral hip muscle strengthening group (9 men and 9 women) or a quadriceps strengthening group (9 men and 9 women). The posterolateral hip muscle strengthening group performed hip abductor and external rotator strengthening exercises, while the quadriceps strengthening group performed quadriceps strengthening exercises (3 times a week for 8wk). Pain (visual analog scale [VAS]) and health status (Western Ontario McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index [WOMAC]) were assessed at baseline, postintervention, and 6-month follow-up. Significant improvements in VAS and WOMAC scores were seen in both groups from baseline to postintervention and baseline to 6-month follow-up (P<.001). Improvements in VAS and WOMAC scores in the posterolateral hip exercise group were superior to those in the quadriceps exercise group postintervention and at 6-month follow-up (P<.05).
While both intervention programs resulted in reduced pain and improved function in persons with PFP, outcomes in the posterolateral hip exercise group were superior to the quadriceps exercise group. The superior outcomes obtained in the posterolateral hip exercise group were maintained 6 months postintervention.