Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is a common overuse injury in physically active individuals. It is characterized by anterior knee, retropatellar, or prepatellar pain associated with activities that increase patellofemoral joint stress such as squatting, stair ascending and descending, running, jumping, prolonged sitting, and kneeling. The etiology of PFP is believed to be multifactorial. Recently, proximal factors have been shown to influence the biomechanics of patellofemoral joint.
The aim of the study was to assess hip and knee muscle activity during single leg stance and single leg squat in males with PFP and a control group without PFP.
Eighteen males with PFP (age 24.2 ± 4.4 years) and 18 healthy subjects as controls (age 23.5 ± 3.8 years) were included. We evaluated gluteus medius, gluteus maximus, vastus medialis oblique (VMO), and vastus lateralis (VL) electromyographic (EMG) activity. The muscle activity and reaction time of the proposed muscles were assessed during single leg stance and single leg squat tasks. Independent t-test was used to identify significant differences between PFP and control groups.
No difference in activity of the gluteus maximus muscle was found in either task (p > 0.5). Significant differences were found in activity of gluteus medius and VMO in both tasks (p < 0.05). VL muscle activity had significant difference in single leg stance (p = 0.01), however, had no significant difference in single leg squat (p = 0.1). No significant differences were found in reaction time of the four studied muscles during both single leg stance and single leg squat (p > 0.5).
Males with PFP demonstrated altered gluteus medius, VMO, and VL muscle activity during single leg stance and single leg squat compared to healthy subjects. Gluteus maximus activity did not show any changes between groups. Moreover, muscle recruitment patterns were different between PFP and healthy groups.