Patellofemoral (PF) pain is a common ailment of the lower extremity. A theorized cause for pain is patellar maltracking due to vasti muscle activation imbalance, represented as large vastus lateralis:vastus medialis (VL:VM) activation ratios. However, evidence relating vasti muscle activation imbalance to patellar maltracking is limited. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between VL:VM activation ratio and patellar tracking measures, patellar tilt and bisect offset, in PF pain subjects and pain-free controls. We evaluated VL:VM activation ratio and VM activation delay relative to VL activation in 39 PF pain subjects and 15 pain-free controls during walking. We classified the PF pain subjects into normal tracking and maltracking groups based on patellar tilt and bisect offset measured from weight-bearing magnetic resonance imaging. Patellar tilt correlated with VL:VM activation ratio only in PF pain subjects classified as maltrackers. This suggests that a clinical intervention targeting vasti muscle activation imbalance may be effective only in PF pain subjects classified as maltrackers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Patellar maltracking
- Patellofemoral pain
- PearlDiver database
- Vastus lateralis:vastus medialis activation ratio
- Vastus medialis activation delay