Date Available


Year of Publication


Document Type



Health Sciences


Rehabilitation Sciences

First Advisor

Terry R. Malone

Second Advisor

Gilson J. Capilouto


Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is one of the most common, but least understood, knee disorders. Fulkerson (1997) believes that pathology may result from an excessive valgus force being applied to the patella. Researchers have historically examined quadriceps strength and neuromuscular activity and knee kinematics. However, results from these works have not provided conclusive answers. Powers (2003) has theorized that other structures can influence knee function, and researchers have shown that PFPS subjects can exhibit hip weakness and demonstrate altered hip kinematics during functional activities. Although they provide preliminary evidence regarding hip influences, investigations that simultaneously examine hip and knee function in PFPS subjects are needed. The primary purpose of this study was to determine functional performance, strength, neuromuscular activity (amplitudes and onset timing differences), and kinematics of the hip and knee for people diagnosed with PFPS. Eighteen females diagnosed with PFPS and 18 asymptomatic female controls participated. Subjects initially completed a 10-cm visual analog scale. Next, they completed two functional performance tests and underwent a strength assessment for the hip abductors, hip external rotators, and knee extensors. Surface electromyography (EMG) electrodes and reflective markers were donned in order to collect EMG and kinematic data during a stair-stepping task. For this purpose, subjects ascended and descended two 20-cm high steps at a standardized rate. Seven PFPS and seven control subjects were retested five to seven days later to establish measurement reliability. A repeated measures analysis of variance was used to determine group differences. Correlation coefficients were calculated to identify associations between pain and dependent measures; intraclass correlation coefficients were calculated to determine measurement reliability for both control and PFPS subjects. Results from this study showed group differences for functional performance, strength, and EMG amplitudes but none for onset timing differences or kinematics. A strong association was found between pain and hip external rotator strength and EMG amplitudes during stair-stepping. Most tests provided reliable measures with repeat testing. PFPS subjects demonstrated quadriceps dysfunction but even greater hip weakness that was correlated more with pain. Contemporary rehabilitation has focused on quadriceps strengthening; however, results from this study support the importance of the hip.



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