The immediate effects of foot orthoses on hip and knee kinematics and muscle activity during a functional step-up task in individuals with patellofemoral pain.Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon) 2014; 29(9):1056-62CB
Evidence shows that anti-pronating foot orthoses improve patellofemoral pain, but there is a paucity of evidence concerning mechanisms. We investigated the immediate effects of prefabricated foot orthoses on (i) hip and knee kinematics; (ii) electromyography variables of vastus medialis oblique, vastus lateralis and gluteus medius during a functional step-up task, and (iii) associated clinical measures.
Hip muscle activity and kinematics were measured during a step-up task with and without an anti-pronating foot orthoses, in people (n=20, 9 M, 11 F) with patellofemoral pain. Additionally, we measured knee function, foot posture index, isometric hip abductor and knee extensor strength and weight-bearing ankle dorsiflexion.
Reduced hip adduction (0.82°, P=0.01), knee internal rotation (0.46°, P=0.03), and decreased gluteus medius peak amplitude (0.9mV, P=0.043) were observed after ground contact in the 'with orthoses' condition. With the addition of orthoses, a more pronated foot posture correlated with earlier vastus medialis oblique onset (r=-0.51, P=0.02) whilst higher Kujala scores correlated with earlier gluteus medius onset (r=0.52, P=0.02).
Although small in magnitude, reductions in hip adduction, knee internal rotation and gluteus medius amplitude observed immediately following orthoses application during a task that commonly aggravates symptoms, offer a potential mechanism for their effectiveness in patellofemoral pain management. Given the potential for cumulative effects of weight bearing repetitions completed with a foot orthoses, for example during repeated stair ascent, the differences are likely to be clinically meaningful.