The effects of joint mobilization on individuals with patellofemoral pain: a systematic review

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To investigate and synthesize the effects of joint mobilization on individuals with patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Data sources:

Five electronic databases (CINAHL, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PubMed, Scopus, and SPORTDiscus) were used.

Review methods:

Each database was searched from inception to 1 November 2017. Randomized controlled trials investigating a manual therapy intervention, with or without co-interventions, for persons with patellofemoral pain were included. Two reviewers independently screened the retrieved literature and appraised the quality of the selected studies using the PEDro rating scale. A third reviewer was used in cases of discrepancy to create a consensus.


A total of 361 articles were identified in the search. Twelve randomized trials with a total of 499 participants were selected for full review. Within-group improvements in pain and function were noted for the manual therapy groups. Between-group improvements for short-term outcomes (three months or less) were greatest when joint mobilization was directed to the knee complex and used as part of a comprehensive approach.


In the articles reviewed, joint mobilization appears to be most effective in improving pain and function when coupled with other interventions, although its discrete effect is unclear due to the reviewed studies’ design and reporting.

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