Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

    Management of patellofemoral joint osteoarthritis using biomechanical device therapy: a systematic review with meta-analysis

    Callaghan, MJ, Palmer, E and O’Neill, T (2021) Management of patellofemoral joint osteoarthritis using biomechanical device therapy: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Systematic Reviews, 10 (1). ISSN 2046-4053

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    Background: Current clinical guidelines recommend conservative management including non-pharmacologic therapy prior to considering surgery for knee OA. There is a paucity of clinical trials investigating the use of biomechanical device therapies on those with patellofemoral joint osteoarthritis (PFJOA). The aim was to systematically review the effectiveness of biomechanical devices (bracing, taping, and footwear) in the management of symptomatic PFJOA. Method: The Cochrane, PEDro, MEDLINE, CINAHL, AMED and EMBASE electronic databases were search from inception to October 31, 2020. Included studies were randomised controlled or clinical trials studying any form of biomechanical device therapy in the management of PFJOA in the English language. Studies included in the search were quality-appraised using the PEDro scoring system. Result: Eleven studies were identified which included assessment of either patellar taping, or foot orthotics, knee bracing or combined physiotherapy treatments. Trial quality ranged from ‘poor’ through ‘fair’ to ‘good’. For patellar bracing, pooled analysis of two good quality randomised controlled trials showed no overall significant improvement on a visual analogue scale (VAS) (random effects (RE) standardised mean difference (SMD) = −0.42 (95%CI −1.12 to +0.29). Pooled data from the same two studies showed a non-significant improvement in favour of bracing assessed by the KOOS/WOMAC (RE SMD = −0.18 (95%CI −0.66 to +0.31). Two studies of ‘fair’ and ‘good’ quality applying patellar tape showed a significant reduction in pain immediately after application and after 4 days. A randomised trial of a foot orthotic showed a non-significant improvement in pain after 6 weeks with a between groups adjusted mean difference for maximum VAS of 21.9 mm (95% CI − 2.1 to 46.0) and 8.1 (95% CI− 6.9 to 23.1) for KOOS pain. A multimodal physiotherapy intervention (which included taping in two studies) showed a pooled significant improvement in VAS (SMD = −0.4; (95% CI −0.71 to −0.09) at 3 months compared to controls. Conclusion: There is some good quality evidence that a combined physiotherapy approach significantly reduces short-term pain in those with PFJOA. Long-term effects of all interventions are still unknown, which indicates the need for further research to determine the longer term impact of all biomechanical devices on outcomes in symptomatic PFJOA.

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