Utility of frontal plane projection angle in females with patellofemoral pain

Author(s): Willson JD, Davis IS


Study design:Case-control study of females with patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) and a control group.

Objectives:Three different approaches were used to examine the utility of a 2-dimensional (2-D) frontal plane projection angle (FPPA) measure of knee alignment. First, we measured the FPPA association with respect to 3-dimensional (3-D) lower extremity joint rotations during single-leg squats. Second, we determined the correlation of the FPPA during single-leg squats with hip and knee joint rotations during running and single leg jumping. Third, we compared the FPPA between females with and without PFPS.

Background:PFPS is associated with altered lower extremity kinematics during weight-bearing activities that decrease retropatellar contact area and increase retropatellar stress. An objective and simple procedure to quantify altered kinematics during weight-bearing activities may help clinicians identify individuals who may likely benefit from interventions to improve lower extremity kinematics.

Methods and measures:Twenty females with PFPS and 20 healthy female controls performed single-leg squats, running, and repetitive single-leg jumps while 3-D lower extremity kinematics were recorded. The FPPA was recorded by a digital camera during single-leg stance and single-leg squats. Correlation coefficients were used to quantify the association between the FPPA and transverse and frontal plane hip and knee angles for all activities. Independent t tests were used to compare FPPA values between groups.

Results:FPPA values representing medial displacement of the knee during single-leg squats were associated with increased hip adduction (r = 0.32 to 0.38, P<.044) and knee external rotation (r = 0.48 to 0.55, P<.001) across activities. FPPA values for the PFPS group reveal greater medial displacement of the knee compared with those of the control group during single-leg squats (P = .012).

Conclusion:The association between the FPPA and lower extremity kinematics that are associated with PFPS suggest that the FPPA during single-leg squats may be a useful clinical measure. However, these methods should not be used to quantify 3-D joint rotations.

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