Effect of hip abductors and lateral rotators' muscle strengthening on pain and functional outcome in adult patients with patellofemoral pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation


BACKGROUND: Even though literature indicates presence of weak hip abductors and lateral rotators' in Patellofemoral Pain (PFP), studies evaluating the effect of hip abductors and lateral rotators strengthening to improve knee function and quality of life in PFP are limited. OBJECTIVE: This study systematically reviews and meta-analyzes the best evidence on the therapeutic value of strengthening hip abductors and lateral rotators muscles for treating PFP with a presumptive hypothesis that strengthening hip muscles stabilizes the patellofemoral joint, relieves pain, and enhances knee functions. METHOD: Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, PEDro and PubMed Central databases were searched between January 1994 and September 2019 using the PICOS tool. The methodological quality of the selected studies were appraised individually using the 20-item McMaster Critical Review Form for Quantitative Studies. Supplemental quality appraisal of randomized controlled clinical trials performed using the Cochrane Collaboration's 'Risk of bias' quality criteria. Data on patient population demographics, interventions, duration of intervention, and outcome measures were extracted and summarized in evidence tables and descriptive analysis. Meta-analyses under both fixed and random-effects models determined pooled effects size from appropriate RCTs. RESULTS: All fourteen studies demonstrated that hip muscle strengthening improved pain and knee function. All RCTs, except one, demonstrated that hip muscle strengthening is superior to quadriceps strengthening. Of the five RCTs assessing the additional effect of hip-quad versus quadriceps strengthening, four suggested that hip-quad strengthening is superior to standard quadriceps strengthening alone to improve PFP and knee function. CONCLUSION: In adult patients with PFP, strengthening hip abductors and lateral rotators' have beneficial therapeutic effects than the conventional quadriceps exercises in improving knee pain and function both in the short- A nd long term. However, the present review data can be used to develop a standardized hip-quad protocol in the future.

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