The patellofemoral (PF) joint is the knee compartment most commonly affected by osteoarthritis (OA). Even mild PF OA is associated with considerable pain and functional limitations. Despite its prevalence and impact, little is understood of the etiology or structural and functional features of PF OA. The clinical symptoms of PF OA, such as anterior knee pain during stair ambulation and squatting, share many similarities with PF pain in adolescents and young adults. PF joint OA is most commonly diagnosed in people aged >40 years, many of whom report a history of PF pain. As such, there is growing evidence that PF pain and PF OA form a continuum of disease. This review explores the possible relationship between the presence of PF pain and the development of PF OA. We review the evidence for altered neuromotor control and biomechanical factors that may be associated with altered PF loading in people with PF pain and PF OA. In doing so, we highlight similarities and differences that may evolve along the continuum. By improving our understanding of the neuromotor and biomechanical links between PF pain and PF OA, we may highlight potential targets for new rehabilitation strategies.
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Narelle Wyndow is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council postgraduate scholarship (ID1055276). Natalie Collins is supported by a University of Queensland Postdoctoral Fellowship. Kylie Tucker was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellowship (ID1009410). No sources of funding were used specifically to assist in the preparation of this article.
Conflict of interest
Narelle Wyndow, Natalie Collins, Bill Vicenzino, Kylie Tucker, and Kay Crossley declare that they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this review.
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Wyndow, N., Collins, N., Vicenzino, B. et al. Is There a Biomechanical Link Between Patellofemoral Pain and Osteoarthritis? A Narrative Review. Sports Med 46, 1797–1808 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-016-0545-6