Knee flexion during stair ambulation is altered in individuals with patellofemoral pain Academic Article uri icon


  • UNLABELLED: Reduced knee flexion is a logical gait adaptation for individuals with patellofemoral pain (PFP) to lessen the patellofemoral joint reaction force and minimise pain during stair ambulation. This gait adaptation may be related to the co-ordination of individual vasti components. PURPOSE: This study investigated the amount of stance-phase knee flexion in individuals with (n=48) and without (n=18) PFP using a cross-sectional design. The relationship between stance-phase knee flexion and onset timing of individual vasti activity was also examined. METHOD: Stance-phase knee flexion was measured in 2-dimensions using a PEAK movement analysis system during stair ascent and descent. Individuals with PFP were separated into those with synchronous onset of the EMG activity of vastus medialis obliquus (VMO) and vastus lateralis (VL), and those where the onset of VMO EMG activity was delayed relative to the VL. RESULTS: The amount of knee flexion at heel-strike and peak was less in the individuals with PFP compared with the healthy controls. In addition, there were trends towards individuals with PFP who had a delayed EMG onset of VL having reduced knee flexion during stair descent compared with PFP individuals with simultaneous vasti onsets and the control participants. CONCLUSION: These results indicate that the amount of stance-phase knee flexion is lower in individuals with PFP and that this may be related to onset timing of the vasti.

publication date

  • March 2004