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J Man Manip Ther. 2007;15(4):216-24.

Use of anterior tibial translation in the management of patellofemoral pain syndrome in older patients: a case series.


The currently most plausible pathophysiologic theory for the etiology of pain in patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome involves abnormal mechanical stress to the patellofemoral joint. At this time, there is no consensus nor is there a sufficient body of research evidence to guide management of patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome. This means that clinicians have to rely to some extent on a mechanism-based approach. Decreased quadriceps flexibility and muscular endurance have been identified as possibly relevant impairments in patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome. Surgical anterior translation of the tibial tuberosity with the Maquet procedure has a proven positive effect on patellofemoral contact forces. This case series studied the effects of a physical therapy management approach that included translating the tibia anteriorly while performing open kinetic chain quadriceps training and manual muscle stretching of the rectus femoris muscle. Outcome measures used included the numeric pain rating scale and goniometric measurement of rectus femoris muscle length in a standardized test position. Anterior tibial translation reduced pain during both interventions and also produced clinically and statistically significant pre- to post-intervention improvements in pain during manual muscle testing and rectus femoris length testing in addition to statistically significant pre- to post-intervention increases in rectus femoris muscle length. The results of this quasi-experimental study indicate the need for future experimental study. Future study should include functional in addition to impairment-based outcome measures, standardization and blinding for the rectus femoris muscle length test (should future researchers chose to again use this outcome measure), a pilot study establishing reliability of outcome measures collected by the therapist, younger subjects, and the collection of longer-term outcome data.


Anterior Knee Pain; Anterior Tibial Translation; Open Kinetic Chain Quadriceps Training; Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome; Rectus Femoris Stretching

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