Both open kinetic chain (OKC) quadriceps strengthening exercise and closed kinetic chain (CKC) quadriceps strengthening exercise have been shown to reduce pain and improve function in athletes aged 12-40 years with patellofemoral pain syndrome. Ten peer-reviewed research articles were analyzed as part of this paper. The ten articles varied in relevance to the clinical question and were of various qualities. However, there was a positive trend for most patients, both in the comparison or intervention group, toward a decrease in pain and increase in function as the result of some type of quadriceps strengthening program. No one treatment was shown to be superior to the other and no safety concerns were associated with either exercise prescription. Consequently, we are unable to conclude at this time which intervention is more effective at reducing pain and improving function in athletes with patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). We can only conclude that further research needs to be performed in this area. Specifically, we recommend research investigating the effect of a combination of OKC and CKC quadriceps exercises compared to solely OKC, and solely CKC exercises and the long term effects of each treatment.
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