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What is the value of patient education for managing patients with knee pain?
Louise is 19 years old and a keen runner. During the past 3–4 months, she gradually developed anterior knee pain, which was slowing her down. She has had similar knee pain before, but never this bad. Louise consults her healthcare practitioner and is diagnosed with patellofemoral pain (PFP), for which many recommended treatments with varying levels of supporting evidence exist.1 2 How should we guide the shared decision-making that will determine which treatment Louise tries first? Some treatments will require Louise to see a specialist physiotherapist who can instruct on changing her running technique (ie, gait retraining), while others require a physiotherapist who can prescribe a series of appropriate hip and knee exercises, foot orthoses or teach her to tape her knee. These interventions can be costly to the individual and the healthcare system, with most needing multiple sessions. Patient education, including strategies for self-management of knee pain, is another treatment which may help Louise. Education can be provided in both primary and secondary care, can be relatively inexpensive and may not require …
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