Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is one of the most common overuse injuries of the knee. Previous research has found that individuals with PFP exhibit differences in peak hip kinematics; however, differences in peak knee kinematics, where the pain originates, are difficult to elucidate. To better understand the mechanism behind PFP, we sought to characterize differences in knee gait kinematic waveform patterns in individuals with PFP compared to healthy individuals using fast Fourier transform (FFT). Sixteen control and sixteen individuals with PFP participated in a fast walk protocol. FFT was used to decompose the sagittal, frontal and transverse plane knee gait waveforms into sinusoidal signals. A two-way ANOVA and Bonferroni post hoc analysis compared group, limb and interaction effects on sagittal, frontal and transverse amplitude, frequency and phase components between control and PFP individuals gait waveforms. Differences in frequency and phase values were found in the sagittal and frontal plane knee waveforms between the control and PFP groups. The signal-to-noise ratio also reported significant differences between the PFP and control limbs in the sagittal (p < 0.01) and frontal planes (p = 0.04). The findings indicate that differences in gait patterns in the individuals with PFP were not the result of amplitude differences, but differences attributed to temporal changes in gait patterns detected by the frequency and phase metrics. These changes suggest that individuals with PFP adopted a more deliberate, stiffer gait and exhibit altered joint coordination. And the FFT technique could serve as a fast, quantifiable tool for clinicians to detect PFP.

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Published in PLOS ONE, v. 13, no. 12, e0209015, p. 1-11.

© 2018 Morgan, Noehren.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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This research was partially funded by American Physical Therapy Association Orthopedic Section Research grant no other external funding was received for this study.

Related Content

Data are available as a Supporting Information file ("S1 File.xlsx").

S1 File. This file contains the data used for the study analysis. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0209015.s001 (XLSX)

journal.pone.0209015.s001.xlsx (3675 kB)
S1 File. This file contains the data used for the study analysis.