Introduction: Patellofemoral pain is a common condition in adolescents and may significantly impact their activities of daily living.
Methods: A literature search was performed using the PubMed database including the terms “knee pain,” “patellofemoral pain syndrome,” “patellofemoral pain,” and “anterior knee pain” combined with “prognosis” and “natural history.” Three relevant articles were identified including individuals aged 13-18 years.
Case presentation: An active 14-year old female presented to the chiropractic clinic after being diagnosed with this condition by her general practitioner. The family wanted to know the long-term prognosis of the condition and if anything could be done, as the general practitioner had suggested that the condition would resolve on its own.
Intervention: Home exercises were prescribed along with advice to temporarily suspend participation in physical education classes and consider orthotics. Soft tissue therapy and mobilizations of the knee joint were also applied.
Outcomes: Despite these efforts, this patient continued to suffer from these complaints, though with reduced intensity, three years after the onset.
Discussion: Three prospective studies examining the prognosis of this condition in a young population exist. Though heterogeneous in design, the evidence suggests that the course of patellofemoral pain in adolescents and young adults does not appear to be self-limiting in nature and its prognosis appears to be worse than that of other non-traumatic knee conditions.
Conclusion: Early intervention appears to improve the chances of recovery, therefore chiropractors should be aware of this condition’s unfavorable prognosis and the urgency of initiating treatment in a timely manner.
Author keywords: Patellofemoral pain syndrome, adolescent, knee pain
Author affiliation: Private practice, Werkhoven, Utrecht, the Netherlands
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