OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation combined with exercise, classic stretching physiotherapy intervention, and educational intervention at improving patient function and pain in patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome.
DESIGN: Randomized, controlled, blind trial over four months.
SETTING: Urban population, Spain.
PARTICIPANTS: Patients undergoing primary care for retropatellar pain.
INTERVENTION: Subjects were allocated on three different treatment options: a proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation and aerobic exercise group, a classic stretching group, and a control treatment were applied over four months under the supervision of a physiotherapist.
MAIN OUTCOME: Knee Society Score, pain reported (Visual analogue scale) and knee range of motion. Assessments were completed at baseline and after four months.
RESULTS: 74 patients were enrolled in the study and distributed between groups. Both the proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation and classic stretching group showed significant changes in all variables after four months intervention (p < 0.001). The difference in mean Kujala knee score changes between groups (classic stretching group vs. proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation group vs. control group) at four months was -24.05 (95% confidence interval (CI) -30.19, -17.90), p ≤ 0.001; vs. -39.03 (95% confidence interval (CI) -42.5, -35.5), p ≤ 0.001; vs. -0.238 (95% confidence interval (CI) -1.2, 0.726), p = 0.621, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: A proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation intervention protocol combined with aerobic exercise showed a better outcome than a classic stretching protocol after four months.
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