Evidence Based Conservative Management of Patello-femoral Syndrome


Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, La Paz University Hospital, Paseo de la Castellana 261, 28046-Madrid, Spain.


Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is defined as pain surrounding the patella when sitting with bent
knees for prolonged periods of time or when performing activities like ascending or descending stairs, squatting or
athletic activities. Patella dislocation is not included in PFPS.
This review analyzes the evidence based conservative management of PFPS.
A Cochrane Library search related to PFPS was performed until 18 January 2014. The key words were:
patellofemoral pain syndrome. Eight papers were found, of which three were reviewed because they were focused
on the topic of the article. We also searched the PubMed using the following keywords: evidence based conservative
management of patellofemoral pain syndrome. Twelve articles were found, of which seven were reviewed because
they were focused on the topic of the article. Overall ten articles were analyzed.
Different treatments can be tried for PFPS, including pharmacotherapy, therapeutic ultrasound, exercise
therapy, and taping and braces.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may reduce pain in the short term, but pain does not
improve after three months. Therapeutic ultrasound appears not to have a clinically important effect on pain relief for
patients with PFPS. The evidence that exercise therapy is more effective in treating PFPS than no exercise is limited
with respect to pain reduction, and conflicting with respect to functional improvement. No significant difference has
been found between taping and non-taping. The role of knee braces is still controversial. More well-designed studies are needed.


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