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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, Kettunen 2012.

Years later, knee surgery still no better than exercise for patellofemoral pain

updated
Kettunen JA, Harilainen A, Sandelin J, Schlenzka D, Hietaniemi K, Seitsalo S, Malmivaara A, Kujala UM. Knee arthroscopy and exercise versus exercise only for chronic patellofemoral pain syndrome: 5-year follow-up. Br J Sports Med. 2012 Mar;46(4):243–6. PubMed #21357578.
Tags: treatment, surgery, patellar pain, arthritis, aging, pain problems, knee, leg, limbs, overuse injury, injury, running, exercise, self-treatment

PainSci summary of Kettunen 2012?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. ★★★★☆?4-star ratings are for bigger/better studies and reviews published in more prestigious journals, with only quibbles. 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 paper is a 5-year followup to Kettunen 2007, a study that compared the effects of surgery (arthroscopy) plus exercise (an 8 week home program) with exercise alone (same program), to see if surgery added any benefit. At the end of the that study, both groups improved significantly … but surgery did no better! Five years later, the groups were still the same: surgery didn’t help at all, short term or long.

~ Paul Ingraham

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.

OBJECTIVE: To study the long-term outcome of arthroscopy in patients with chronic patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), the authors conducted a randomised controlled trial. The authors also investigated factors predicting the outcome in patients with PFPS.

METHODS: Fifty-six patients with PFPS were randomised into two groups: an arthroscopy group (N=28), treated with knee arthroscopy and an 8-week home exercise programme, and a control group (N=28), treated with a similar 8-week home exercise programme only. The primary outcome was the Kujala score on pain and function at 5-year. Secondary outcomes were visual analogue scales (VASs) to assess activity-related symptoms.

RESULTS: According to the Kujala score, both groups showed a marked improvement during the 5-year follow-up: a mean improvement of 14.7 (95% CI 9.9 to 19.4) in the arthroscopy group and 13.5 (95% CI 8.1 to 18.8) in the controls. No differences between the groups in mean improvement in the Kujala score (group difference 1.2 (95% CI -8.4 to 6.1)) or in the VAS scores were found. None of the investigated factors predicted the long-term outcome, but in most of the cases the treatment result immediately after the exercise programme remained similar also after the 5-year follow-up.

CONCLUSION: Our RCT, being the first of its kind, indicates that the 5-year outcome in most of the patients with chronic PFPS treated with knee arthroscopy and home exercise programme or with the home exercise programme only is equally good in both groups. Some of the patients in both groups do have long-term symptoms.

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