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Gait Posture. 2017 Oct;58:7-12. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2017.06.271. Epub 2017 Jun 29.

Patellar bracing affects sEMG activity of leg and thigh muscles during stance phase in patellofemoral pain syndrome.

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Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Bu Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran.
Hamedan University of Medical Sciences, Hamedan, Iran.
Neuromusculoskeletal Research Center, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address:



Decreases in patellofemoral pain symptoms with bracing treatment have been established; but, the mechanisms remain unclear. The purpose of this study was to determine the immediate and long-term effects of the patellar bracing on electromyography (EMG) activity of the Vastus Medialis (VM) and Lateralis (VL), Rectus Femoris, lateral Gastrocnemius, Biceps Femoris and Semitendinosus (ST) muscles during level walking.


12 eligible women aged 20-30 years with diagnosis of patellofemoral pain participated in the before and after study. Intervention consisted of 8 weeks of patellar bracing. First, patients were tested without brace, then with a brace, and finally eight weeks later without a brace. Surface EMG activation of the selected muscles during level walking was recorded.


After eight weeks of patellar bracing, EMG activity of VM muscle was significantly higher when compared to first session without brace (p=0.011) at mid-stance sub-phase. Additionally, EMG activity of ST muscle during first session with brace was significantly lower when compared to first session without brace at mid-stance sub-phase (without brace) (p=0.012). EMG activity of VM muscle after eight weeks of patellar bracing was significantly higher than the first session without brace at late stance and preswing sub-phase (p=0.013).


Long-term wearing of patellar bracing increases EMG activity of VM during mid-stance and late stance and preswing sub-phases of gait and immediate effect of patellar brace is decrease of EMG activity of ST muscle during mid-stance.


Electromyography; Gait; Patellar bracing; Patellofemoral pain; Stance phase

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