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bibliography * The PainScience Bibliography contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers and others sources, like a specialized blog. This page is about a single scientific paper in the bibliography, Rathleff 2013.

Lower pain thresholds in young women with patellofemoral pain

updated
Rathleff MS, Roos EM, Olesen JL, Rasmussen S, Arendt-Nielsen L. Lower mechanical pressure pain thresholds in female adolescents with patellofemoral pain syndrome. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2013 Jun;43(6):414–21. PubMed #23508216.
Tags: patellar pain, etiology, neurology, chronic pain, arthritis, aging, pain problems, knee, leg, limbs, overuse injury, injury, running, exercise, self-treatment, treatment, pro

PainSci summary of Rathleff 2013?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆?3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.

This study demonstrates that young women with patellofemoral pain syndrome have lowered mechanical (pressure) pain thresholds at the knee. Pain thresholds were also lower at a location slightly distant from the knee (lower on the shin). This supports the (quite novel) idea that altered pain processing — both at the site, as well as in the central nervous system — may be a driving factor in chronic patellofemoral pain.

original abstractAbstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

OBJECTIVES: To compare pressure pain thresholds (PPTs) between adolescent females diagnosed with patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) and gender- and age-matched controls without musculoskeletal pain.

BACKGROUND: PFPS is prevalent among adolescents and may be associated with reduced PPT both locally and remotely from the site of reported pain. This may indicate altered central processing of nociceptive information. However, this has never been investigated in adolescents with PFPS.

METHODS: Adolescents with PFPS and a comparison group without musculoskeletal pain were recruited from a population-based cohort of students from 4 upper secondary schools, aged 15 to 19 years. All 2846 students within that age range were invited to answer an online questionnaire regarding musculoskeletal pain. The students who reported knee pain were contacted by telephone and offered a clinical examination by an experienced rheumatologist, who made a diagnosis. PPTs were measured at 4 sites around the knee and 1 site on the tibialis anterior in the 57 female adolescents diagnosed with PFPS and in 22 female adolescents without musculoskeletal pain.

RESULTS: Adolescents with PFPS, compared to controls, had significantly lower PPTs (26%-37% [100-178 kPa]) at each of the 4 sites around the knee, suggesting localized hyperalgesia. On the tibialis anterior, adolescents with PFPS had a 33% (159 kPa) lower PPT (distal hyperalgesia) compared with controls.

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that adolescent females with PFPS have localized and distal hyperalgesia. These findings may have implications for treating PFPS, as both peripheral and central mechanisms may be driving the pain. Registered at clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01438762).

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