August 2019

PT Professor Authors New Guideline to Treat PFP

University of Montana (UM) Assistant Professor Richard Willy, PT, PhD, is the lead author on a paper that offers new guidelines for treating patellofemoral pain (PFP), often known as runner’s knee. PFP affects 25% of the general population every year, with women reporting PFP twice as often as men. Willy’s paper finds that exercise therapy, namely hip and knee strengthening treatments prescribed by a physical therapist, is the best recovery approach for individuals with PFP.

“While it might be tempting to seek quick fixes for knee pain, there is no evidence that non-active treatments alone, such as electrical stimulation, lumbar manipulations, ultrasound or dry needling, help persons with PFP,” he said. “Persons with PFP should seek clinicians who use exercise therapy for the treatment of this injury.”

The recommendations were recently published as a Clinical Practice Guideline in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. The Clinical Practice Guideline aims to improve the quality and standardization of care provided to patients with knee pain while also providing reimbursement guidelines for insurance companies. Key takeaways from the Clinical Practice Guideline include:

An exercise program that gradually increases activities such as running, exercise classes, sports or walking, is the best way to prevent PFP.

Adolescent athletes who specialize in a single sport are at 28% greater risk of PFP than athletes who participate in a variety of sports.

An important way to reduce the risk of PFP in military populations is maximizing leg strength, particularly the thigh muscles.

Pain does not always mean there is damage to the knee.

To access the article, visit jospt.org/doi/full/10.2519/jospt.2019.0302#_i2.

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