Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Hip Strengthening Shown To Improve Knee Pain And Function

November 15, 2019


Pain on the front of the knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome) is the most common diagnosis behind knee pain and one of the most common conditions found in sports medicine and Physical Therapy clinics. Although multifactorial in nature, symptoms arise due to abnormal contact between the knee cap and the thigh bone at the knee joint. Forces are either inadequately dissipated by the surrounding musculature or are transmitted over a smaller surface area due to poor alignment of the knee over the planted foot. Initially treatment was targeted at balancing the quadriceps musculature but more current research and clinical practice reflects the importance of quadriceps and hip strengthening among this population of patients.

A recent review of the available medical evidence was conducted in The Journal of Strength And Conditioning Research (2019). Rogan and colleagues reviewed 11 randomized, controlled trials and 1 non randomized trial including a total of over 600 patients with patellofemoral pain. Authors identified treatment trends involving utilization of hip abductor strengthening (glut muscles) in this group. As expected, authors reported decreased pain and improved function in patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome when treated with hip strengthening exercises. In clinical practice, these muscles should be targeted along with the quadriceps to reduce joint forces and improve dynamic loading of the knee joint during life and sports activities.

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