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Evidence based journal watch
  1. Martin P Schwellnus, Professor
  1. University of Cape Town, South Africa

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    Background: Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), a common clinical problem in sports medicine, is usually treated non-operatively with an exercise rehabilitation programme—the use of adjunctive bracing has not been well established.

    Research question/s: How effective is patellar bracing in reducing pain and increasing function compared with a home exercise rehabilitation programme in the treatment of PFPS?

    Methodology:Subjects: 129 patients with PFPS subjects (male = 57, female = 79) (total of 197 affected knees).

    Experimental procedure: Once included in the study, baseline assessments were performed on all subjects including knee function and pain ratings (VAS 0–10) for three situations: knee pain during sport activity (VAS-Sport), knee pain 1 hr after sport activity (VAS-Sport 1hr), and knee pain after sitting with knees bent for 30 min (VAS-Sit). Subjects were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups: (1) home exercise programme (Ex = 34), (2) patellar bracing (Brace = 32), (3) home exercise programme with patellar bracing (Ex+brace = 32), and (4) home exercise programme with knee sleeve (Ex+sleeve = 31). Measurements were repeated at 3, 6, and 12 wks.

    Measures of outcome: Pain (VAS), knee function (Werner knee function score).

    Main finding/s::

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    Pain: There was a significant reduction in pain in all groups over 12 weeks but no difference between groups.

    Knee function: There was …

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