The psychological features of patellofemoral pain (PFP)
Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is highly prevalent in adolescence and adulthood. It often becomes persistent and a challenge to treat. PFP is usually considered in a biomechanical paradigm, however this systematic review has found that non-physical, psychological features may also play a role. The aim of this study was to identify whether the psychological characteristics of individuals with PFP differs from asymptomatic controls and to evaluate the correlations between psychological characteristics and PFP severity.
25 studies (case series and cohort) were included in the review. Small sample sizes, inconsistency of outcome measures and limited comparative studies between those with and without PFP made accurate analysis and estimates of the prevalence of psychological features difficult.
The results demonstrated that anxiety, depression, catastrophising and pain-related fear may be elevated in individuals with PFP and correlate with pain and reduced physical function. These findings suggest that there might be subgroups of PFP that require different treatment approaches.
Ultimately, a better understanding of the psychological features of PFP stands to enhance the outcomes of currently used physical interventions and expose other features at which management strategies may be targeted. Clinicians should screen for their presence of psychological factors in PFP and remain vigilant to these potential barriers to recovery.
> From: Maclachlan et al., Br J Sports Med 51 (2017) 732-742. All rights reserved to The Author(s). Click here for the online summary.