The 5-year outcome in most patients with chronic patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) who undergo knee arthroscopy and participate in a home exercise program is equally good to patients who participate in a home exercise program only, say authors of an article published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. However, some of the patients in both groups do have long-term symptoms, they add.
Fifty-six patients with PFPS were randomized into 2 groups—an arthroscopy group (N=28) and an 8-week home exercise program, and a control group (N=28) treated with a similar 8-week home exercise program only. The primary outcome was the Kujala score on pain and function at 5 years. Secondary outcomes were visual analogue scales (VASs) to assess activity-related symptoms.
According to the Kujala score, both groups showed a marked improvement during the 5-year follow-up—a mean improvement of 14.7 in the arthroscopy group and 13.5 in the controls. No differences between the groups in mean improvement in the Kujala score (group difference 1.2) or in the VAS scores were found. None of the investigated factors predicted the long-term outcome, but in most of the cases the treatment result immediately after the exercise program remained similar also after the 5-year follow-up.
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