Reliability of clinical methods in evaluating patellofemoral pain syndrome with malalignment

Arjun R. H. H., Rama Kishan, Dhillon M. S., Devender Chouhan


Background: Diagnosis of patellofemroal pain syndrome has been challenging due to lack of clinical test with better sensitivity and specificity, axial imaging has been considered as the standard modality for evaluation. Patients with anterior knee pain because of patellofemoral pain syndrome can be sub-grouped as those with or without radiological positive parameter for patellar maltracking.  The aim of the present study was to evaluate reliability of clinical tests in two subgroups of patients presenting with patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Methods: 45 knees with anterior knee pain without any episode of patellar instability were evaluated clinically using four standard tests (patellar apprehension test (PAT), eccentric step test (EST), active instability test (AIT) and Waldron’s test. On the basis of CT scan finding (at least one positive radiological parameter of instability) 28 knees were categorized in Group A (potential patellar instability group) and 17 knees in Group B (PFPS).

Results: All patients with 3 or more than three clinical test positive were cases with potential patellofemroal instability except two. Whereas other true patellofemroal pain patients all except 2 were have less than 3 positive clinical tests.

Conclusions: Clinical test have more diagnostic accuracy in evaluating anterior knee pain due to potential patellofemroal instability in comparison to patellofemroal pain without radiological instability.


Patellofemoral pain syndrome, Clinical tests, Maltracking

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