Principles of Patellofemoral Rehabilitation

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Summary:Patellofemoral disorders continue to present as some of the most common and challenging pathologic conditions of the orthopedic and sports medicine community. Numerous surgical and rehabilitative approaches have been suggested to treat patients with such conditions, but no single approach has been shown to be the most beneficial because of the numerous etiologic factors associated with patellofemoral pain. Rehabilitation programs should be implemented based on a thorough clinical evaluation and continuously modified based on the unique and specific presentation of each patient. Early emphasis is placed on eliminating pain and inflammation. In addition, reestablishing soft tissue and muscular balance is an essential component to patellofemoral rehabilitation programs. As the patient improves, the rehabilitation program is advanced in a progressive and sequential manner to ensure that adequate stress is applied to the injured tissues to facilitate healing while minimizing detrimental loads. This article outlines specific treatment principles commonly associated with nonoperative and postoperative patellofemoral management to restore function as quickly and safely as possible.

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