Lower-extremity muscle activity, kinematics, and dynamic postural control in individuals with patellofemoral pain

Shiho Goto, Naoko Aminaka, Phillip A. Gribble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Context: Altered lower-extremity muscle activity has been associated with lower-extremity kinematics in individuals with patellofemoral pain (PFP). However, few studies have examined these relationships, and the results are inconsistent. Objective: To compare the lower-extremity muscle activity, kinematics, pain level, and reach distance during the anterior reach of the star excursion balance test (SEBT) between participants with PFP and healthy individuals (control [CON] group). Design: Case control. Setting: Research laboratory. Participants: Twenty-eight (PFP = 14 and CON = 14) participants volunteered. Intervention: Each participant performed 3 maximal voluntary isometric contractions of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius (GMED), adductor longus (AL), and vastus medialis, and 5 anterior reaches of the SEBT. Main Outcome Measures: Threedimensional joint kinematics of the hip and knee at the time of touchdown of the SEBT and integrated electromyography of each muscle were recorded during the descent phase of the SEBT. Coactivation ratios between the GMED and AL were calculated (GMED/AL). Pain level was assessed at the baseline and during performance of the SEBT, using a visual analog scale. Results: Participants with PFP demonstrated decreased GMED/AL coactivation ratio (P = .01) and shorter reach distance (P = .01) during anterior reach of the SEBT compared with the CON group. Participants with PFP demonstrated higher pain levels at baseline (P = .03) and during test performance (P < .001) compared with the CON group and increased pain level during the test performance compared with the baseline (P < .001). No other significant differences were observed. Conclusions: There were alterations in muscle activity during SEBT performance, suggesting that overactivity of AL relative to GMED is a unique neural recruitment pattern in those with PFP. However, hip and knee joint kinematics did not seem to contribute to deficits in the anterior reach distance, suggesting a need for continued assessment of these deficiencies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-512
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sport Rehabilitation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.


  • Adductor longus
  • Electromyography
  • Gluteus maximus
  • Gluteus medius
  • Star excursion balance test
  • Vastus medialis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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