Effect of Patellofemoral Brace and Tape on Knee Joint Kinematics and Kinetics

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Bracing and patellar taping are common interventions for patellofemoral pain (PFP), reducing pain by 56% to 80%. It has been proposed that these effects may be due to altered lower-limb biomechanics. To date, there have been no comparative investigations into the effect of patellofemoral taping and patellofemoral bracing on knee mechanics during ambulation to determine whether they both have a mechanical application. This article aimed to address this gap in the literature. Three-dimensional movement analysis was performed on 12 healthy subjects during walking under three randomized experimental conditions: control (no intervention), patellofemoral bracing (Bioskin™ Q-Brace), and patellofemoral taping. Compared with patellofemoral taping or control conditions, the patellofemoral brace significantly increased knee flexion at heelstrike (p < 0.001) and loading response (p = 0.002). There were also significant changes in the knee valgus angle during heelstrike (p = 0.004) and loading response (p = 0.047.) A significant increase in knee flexor moment throughout the stance phase was also observed comparing patellofemoral bracing with control (p < 0.05) and patellofemoral taping (p < 0.05). Patellofemoral bracing and patellofemoral taping have been reported to be beneficial for treatment of PFP, but this effect may be due to more than solely altered knee mechanics because these results indicate that only patellofemoral bracing altered knee biomechanics in certain parts of the gait cycle. The patellofemoral brace does seem to influence biomechanical results more than the patellar tape does and may therefore have value in treating the biomechanical consequences of PFP.

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