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Clinical classification of patellofemoral pain syndrome: guidelines for non-operative treatment

Abstract

The patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) remains a challenging musculoskeletal entity encountered by clinicians. Reviewing the literature, conflicting data seem to exist regarding the effect of non-operative treatment in PFPS patients. A possible explanation may be lack of a clear classification system of patients with PFPS. It is our opinion that the term PFPS still is a ‘wastebasket’, which probably comprises several different entities. Therefore, it seems important to subdivide this broad group of patients into different categories with a specific rehabilitation approach. In this study, we introduce a classification system, which reflects a consensus reached by the European Rehabilitation Panel. This classification system should help the clinicians to identify the cause(s) of patellofemoral pain, and consequently help to select the most appropriate non-operative treatment. The authors are aware that no rehabilitation protocol will work for all PFPS patients, since the underlying mosaic of pathophysiology and tissue-healing responses are unique. Therefore, the aim of this study with a classification system was to guide the clinician through clinical examination in order to develop a non-operative treatment protocol, specific for each individual with PFPS.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank all members of the European Rehabilitation Panel, who were present at the meeting in Assisi, Italy in 2000. The discussions held in this group at that time led to the development of the present clinical classification system of patients with PFPS.

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Correspondence to Erik Witvrouw.

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Witvrouw, E., Werner, S., Mikkelsen, C. et al. Clinical classification of patellofemoral pain syndrome: guidelines for non-operative treatment. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 13, 122–130 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00167-004-0577-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00167-004-0577-6

Keywords

  • Anterior knee pain
  • Conservative treatment
  • Physiotherapy