To determine the effectiveness of patellar bracing for treatment of patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS).
Prospective, randomized, single-blinded clinical trial.
Subjects recruited from the general population of the city of Calgary.
A total of 136 subjects (79 females and 57 males with a total of 197 affected knees) diagnosed with PFPS.
Subjects were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 treatment groups: (1) home exercise program, (2) patellar bracing, (3) home exercise program with patellar bracing, and (4) home exercise program with knee sleeve.
The outcome measurements were knee function (KF) and 10-cm visual analogue scale (VAS) pain ratings for 3 different situations: knee pain during sport activity, knee pain 1 hour after sport activity, and knee pain after sitting with knees bent for 30 minutes. The outcome measurements were assessed at baseline and at 3, 6, and 12 weeks. The investigators were blinded to the treatment group of each subject. Calculations were made for 95% confidence intervals for the change in KF and VAS pain ratings from baseline measurement to 12 weeks.
There was no difference in the 95% confidence intervals in the change of KF and VAS pain ratings among the 4 treatment groups over 12 weeks.
Symptoms of PFPS improved over time in terms of pain and knee function regardless of the treatment group. Patellar bracing did not improve the symptoms of PFPS more quickly when added to a home program of leg strengthening. However, patellar bracing alone can improve the symptoms of PFPS.