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Exercise is effective for patellofemoral pain, but what type, who benefits most and by how much remain unknown
  1. Michael J Callaghan
  1. Central Manchester NHS Foundation Trust Grafton Street, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Michael J Callaghan, Department of Health Professions, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester M15 6GX, UK; michael.callaghan{at}

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Exercise is a core component in the treatment of patellofemoral pain (PFP).1 Esculier et al 2 compared three rehabilitation programmes, one of which was education plus a personalised graduated exercise regimen consistent with the recommendations from the most recent consensus statement on PFP.3 Their aim was to improve symptoms, quadriceps strength and running mechanics. The personalised programme of four phases over 2 weeks was gradually progressed through higher difficulty under a physiotherapist’s guidance. Three to four exercises were performed three times per week (maximum 20 min/session), and one exercise (lower limb dynamic control) was performed daily.

As might be expected, the education+exercise group (the only group with specific strengthening exercises) showed a significant increase in isometric strength of the quadriceps and hip abductor muscles. Despite the improvement in strength, there were no greater improvements in symptoms and no alteration in running mechanics compared with the other two groups. This pattern of results …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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