Exercise therapy — namely, hip and knee strengthening treatments prescribed by a physical therapist — is the best recovery approach for individuals with patellofemoral pain (PFP), otherwise known as runner’s knee, physical therapy professor Richard Willy, lead author of a new study, suggests. “While it might be tempting to seek quick fixes for knee pain, there is no evidence that non-active treatments alone, such as electrical stimulation, lumbar manipulations, ultrasound, or dry needling, help persons with PFP,” says Willy, an assistant professor in the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Montana. “Persons with PFP should seek clinicians who use exercise therapy for the treatment of this injury,” he adds, in a media release from the University of Montana. The recommendations were published recently as a Clinical Practice Guideline in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, the official scientific journal of the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy. The Clinical Practice Guideline aims to improve the quality and standardization of care provided to patients with knee pain while also providing reimbursement guidelines for insurance companies. Key takeaways from the Clinical Practice Guideline, per the release, include:

  • An exercise program that gradually increases activities such as running, exercise classes, sports or walking, is the best way to prevent PFP.
  • Adolescent athletes who specialize in a single sport are at 28% greater risk of PFP than athletes who participate in a variety of sports.
  • An important way to reduce the risk of PFP in military populations is maximizing leg strength, particularly the thigh muscles.
  • Pain does not always mean there is damage to the knee.

[Source(s): University of Montana, EurekAlert]