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* STUDY DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial, pretest-posttest design.

* OBJECTIVES: To compare the efficacy of non-weight-bearing single-joint quadriceps exercise (SJNWBE) versus weight-bearing multiple-joint quadriceps exercise (MJWBE) for individuals with patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS).

* BACKGROUND: PFPS is a common ailment of the knee. Both weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing exercises are considered appropriate for strengthening the quadriceps, a key element in the treatment of this condition.

* METHODS AND MEASURES: Forty-five male subjects with PFPS between 18 and 35 years of age were randomized into 1 of 3 groups. Group 1 (SJNWBE) performed knee extension exercises, group 2 (MJWBE) performed seated leg press exercises, and group 3 (control group) received no treatment. Subjective symptoms, knee extensor muscle strength, and functional performance were evaluated at the time of the initial examination and at the end of the 6-week treatment period.

* RESULTS: Individuals in both exercise groups demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in pain and an increase in muscle strength and functional performance, as compared to the control group (P<.05). All measures showed no significant differences in outcome between the 2 exercise groups (P>.05).

* CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that both weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing quadriceps exercises can significantly improve subjective and clinical outcomes in patients with PFPS.

(C) Copyright 2007 Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy