Physical therapy alters recruitment of the vasti in patellofemoral pain syndrome

Cowan, Sallie M., Bennell, Kim L., Crossley, Kay M., Hodges, Paul W. and McConnell, Jenny (2002) Physical therapy alters recruitment of the vasti in patellofemoral pain syndrome. Medicine And Science In Sports And Exercise, 34 12: 1879-1885. doi:10.1249/01.MSS.0000038893.30443.CE

Author Cowan, Sallie M.
Bennell, Kim L.
Crossley, Kay M.
Hodges, Paul W.
McConnell, Jenny
Title Physical therapy alters recruitment of the vasti in patellofemoral pain syndrome
Journal name Medicine And Science In Sports And Exercise
ISSN 0195-913;1530-0315
Publication date 2002-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1249/01.MSS.0000038893.30443.CE
Volume 34
Issue 12
Start page 1879
End page 1885
Total pages 7
Editor Kenneth O. Wilson
Place of publication Philadelphia, PA, United States
Publisher Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Collection year 2002
Language eng
Subject 321024 Rehabilitation and Therapy - Occupational and Physical
730303 Occupational, speech and physiotherapy
Formatted abstract
To investigate the effect of physical therapy treatment on the timing of electromyographic (EMG) activity of the vasti in individuals with patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS).

Sixty-five (42 female, 23 male) participants aged 40 yr or less (29.2 +/- 7.8 yr) diagnosed with PFPS. Participants were randomly allocated into physical therapy treatment (McConnell-based) or placebo groups. Treatment programs were standardized and consisted of six-treatment sessions over 6 wk. Vastus medialis oblique (VMO) and vastus lateralis (VL) EMG activity was recorded with surface electrodes during a stair-stepping task and onsets of EMG activity were measured pre- and post-treatment.


Before treatment, the EMG onset of VL occurred before that of VMO in both participant groups. After physical therapy intervention, there was a reduction in symptoms, and this improvement was associated with a significant change in the time of onset of VMO EMG compared with that of VL in both phases of the stair-stepping task. After physical therapy treatment, the onset of VMO preceded VL in the eccentric phase and occurred at the same time in the concentric phase of the stair-stepping task. There was no change in time of EMG onset in the placebo group.

This study demonstrates that a McConnell-based physical therapy treatment regime for PFPS alters the motor control of VMO relative to VL in a functional task and this is associated with a positive clinical outcome.
Keyword Sport Sciences
Vastus Medialis Oblique
Stair Stepping
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
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Created: Tue, 14 Aug 2007, 18:03:52 EST