Patellofemoral pain syndrome in athletes: a 5.7-year retrospective follow-up study of 250 athletes.

Published online: Dec 27 1998

L Blønd, and L Hansen.

N.O.C. and Sports Confederation of Denmark, Clinic of Hillerød.


Two hundred fifty athletes from a sports clinic, 122 (49%) females and 128 (51%) males (mean age 21.1 years), who were diagnosed as having patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) and were instructed to practice vastus medialis training, returned a completed questionnaire after an average of 5.7 years' follow-up. Sixty-eight (27%) were pain-free for an average of 8.1 months: 17 (25%) women and 51 (75%) men. As to the remaining 182 (73%) who were still suffering, 95 (52%) had experienced a decrease in pain, 64 (35%) were unchanged and 23 (13%) had experienced an increase in pain. Sixty-eight (37%) described the pain as being mild, 88 (48%) as moderate, and 26 (15%) as severe. Athletic activity was affected in 184 (74%) of the cases, employment in 16 (6%) cases. The prognosis was not correlated with a history of trauma or with age. Athletes with a hypermobile patella had a less good prognosis (r = 0.23, p = 0.04). For about half of the athletes the prognosis was good, although the other half obtained an inadequate result, using a self-training program.