Objective To assess effectiveness equivalence between two commonly prescribed 12-week exercise programmes targeting either the quadriceps or the hip muscles in patients with patellofemoral pain (PFP).
Methods This randomised controlled equivalence trial included patients with a clinical diagnosis of PFP. Participants were randomly assigned to either a 12-week quadriceps-focused exercise (QE) or a hip-focused exercise (HE) programme. The primary outcome was the change in Anterior Knee Pain Scale (AKPS) (0–100) from baseline to 12-week follow-up. Prespecified equivalence margins of ±8 points on the AKPS were chosen to demonstrate comparable effectiveness. Key secondary outcomes were the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) questionnaire pain, physical function and knee-related quality of life subscales.
Results 200 participants underwent randomisation; 100 assigned to QE and 100 to HE (mean age 27.2 years (SD 6.4); 69% women). The least squares mean changes in AKPS (primary outcome) were 7.6 for QE and 7.0 for HE (difference 0.6 points, 95% CI −2.0 to 3.2; test for equivalence p<0.0001), although neither programme surpassed the minimal clinically important change threshold. None of the group differences in key secondary outcomes exceeded predefined equivalence margins.
Conclusion The 12-week QE and HE protocols provided equivalent improvements in symptoms and function for patients with PFP.
Trial registration number NCT03069547.
- Knee injuries
- Randomized Controlled Trial
- Exercise Therapy
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.