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May the force be with you: understanding how patellofemoral joint reaction force compares across different activities and physical interventions-a systematic review and meta-analysis

OBJECTIVE: To systematically review and synthesise patellofemoral joint reaction force (PFJRF) in healthy individuals and those with patellofemoral pain and osteoarthritis (OA), during everyday activities, therapeutic exercises and with physical interventions (eg, foot orthotics, footwear, taping, bracing). DESIGN: A systematic review with meta-analysis. DATA SOURCES: Medline, Embase, Scopus, CINAHL, SportDiscus and Cochrane Library databases were searched. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: Observational and interventional studies reporting PFJRF during everyday activities, therapeutic exercises, and physical interventions. RESULTS: In healthy individuals, the weighted average of mean (±SD) peak PFJRF for everyday activities were: walking 0.9±0.4 body weight (BW), stair ascent 3.2±0.7 BW, stair descent 2.8±0.5 BW and running 5.2±1.2 BW. In those with patellofemoral pain, peak PFJRF were: walking 0.8±0.2 BW, stair ascent 2.5±0.5 BW, stair descent 2.6±0.5 BW, running 4.1±0.9 BW. Only single studies reported peak PFJRF during everyday activities in individuals with patellofemoral OA/articular cartilage defects (walking 1.3±0.5 BW, stair ascent 1.6±0.4 BW, stair descent 1.0±0.5 BW). The PFJRF was reported for many different exercises and physical interventions; however, considerable variability precluded any pooled estimates. SUMMARY: Everyday activities and exercises involving larger knee flexion (eg, squatting) expose the patellofemoral joint to higher PFJRF than those involving smaller knee flexion (eg, walking). There were no discernable differences in peak PFJRF during everyday activities between healthy individuals and those with patellofemoral pain/OA. The information on PFJRF may be used to select appropriate variations of exercises and physical interventions.


HFH is supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Fellowship. AGC is a recipient of a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship (Neil Hamilton Fairley Clinical Fellowship, APP1121173).


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British Journal of Sports Medicine

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© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ. Reuse of this manuscript version (excluding any databases, tables, diagrams, photographs and other images or illustrative material included where another copyright owner is identified) is permitted strictly pursuant to the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 International (CC-BY-NC 4.0)

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