Original Research

Joint position sense in individuals with anterior knee pain

Carlyn Rhode, Quinette A. Louw, Dominique C. Leibbrandt, Leone Williams
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 77, No 1 | a1497 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v77i1.1497 | © 2021 Carlyn Rhode, Quinette A. Louw, Dominique C. Leibbrandt, Leone Williams | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 May 2020 | Published: 18 February 2021

About the author(s)

Carlyn Rhode, Division of Physiotherapy, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Quinette A. Louw, Division of Physiotherapy, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Dominique C. Leibbrandt, Division of Physiotherapy, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Leone Williams, Division of Physiotherapy, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Anterior knee pain (AKP) commonly affects both physically active and sedentary individuals and the aetiology is unknown. Altered joint position sense (JPS) impacts accurate motor action and knee joint stability. It is unclear whether people with AKP have altered JPS.

Objective: The aim of our study was to investigate JPS in the knees of individuals with AKP.

Method: A descriptive cross-sectional study measured JPS in 25 participants with unilateral or bilateral AKP. JPS was measured using active JPS testing during single leg squat (SLS) and active knee extension (AKE) in sitting. Target angles (TA) were self-determined based on each participant’s capabilities. The absolute error (AE) was the main outcome measure. Impaired JPS was classified as an AE equal to or greater than five degrees.

Results: There were no significant differences in JPS when comparing the affected and unaffected knees in participants with AKP (p > 0.05). However, a subgroup of participants with altered knee JPS was identified. There was a tendency towards greater knee flexion in the TAs of knees without AKP.

Conclusion: Our results showed that JPS is not significantly more impaired in knees with AKP compared with knees without AKP in a group of individuals with AKP. A subgroup with altered JPS in knees with and without AKP was identified. This finding could be because of compensatory gait patterns and the precision of the Vicon 3D motion analysis system.

Clinical implications: Joint position sense should be assessed bilaterally in individuals with AKP.


Keywords

patellofemoral pain; proprioception; movement analysis; risk factors; assessment; rehabilitation

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