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Taking the pain out of the patellofemoral joint: articulating a bone of contention
  1. Bill Vicenzino1,
  2. Liam Maclachlan1,
  3. Michael Skovdal Rathleff2
  1. 1 Physiotherapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2 Research Unit for General Practice in Aalborg, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Professor Bill Vicenzino, Physiotherapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia; b.vicenzino{at}

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The ‘pain’ is lacking from the research on patellofemoral pain

An interesting observation from recent International Patellofemoral Pain Retreats (IPFR) is the relatively low proportion of submitted abstracts focusing on pain sciences (ie, 6% (3/50; Manchester, UK, 2015)1 and 29% (15/52; Gold Coast, Australia). Coupled with a recent IPFR consensus document strongly linking biomechanical factors to elevated patellofemoral joint load and pain, we are left questioning where our contemporary understanding of pain fits?

Patellofemoral pain research is replete with studies evaluating a range of biomechanical features of the condition. For the most, these studies are disparate, with small samples. Powers et al 2 deserve credit and recognition for completing the huge task of efficiently reviewing and summarising this body of work. While this framework helps make sense of a complex range of physical features, we are compelled to address an issue that will likely impede the framework’s usefulness to guide clinical pracice. When viewed in isolation, the pathomechanical framework posits that patellofemoral pain is a peripherally based nociception. This raises a point of contention, …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.