Gait Retraining as an Intervention for Patellofemoral Pain

Irene S. Davis, Adam S. Tenforde, Bradley S. Neal, Jenevieve L. Roper, Richard W. Willy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Movement retraining in rehabilitation is the process by which a motor program is changed with the overall goal of reducing pain or injury risk. Movement retraining is an important component of interventions to address patellofemoral pain. The purpose of this paper is to review the methods and results of current retraining studies that are aimed at reducing symptoms of patellofemoral pain. Recent Findings: The majority of studies reviewed demonstrated some improvement in patellofemoral pain symptoms and overall function. However, the degree of improvement as well as the persistence of improvement over time varied between studies. The greatest pain reduction and persistent changes were noted in those studies that incorporated a faded feedback design including between 8 and 18 sessions over 2–6 weeks, typically 3–4 sessions per week. Additionally, dosage in these studies increased to 30–45 min during later sessions, resulting in 177–196 total minutes of retraining. In contrast, pain reductions and persistence of changes were the least in studies where overall retraining volume was low and feedback was either absent or continual. Summary: Faulty movement patterns have been associated with patellofemoral pain. Studies have shown that strengthening alone does not alter these patterns, and that addressing the motor program is needed to effect these changes. Based upon the studies reviewed here, retraining faulty patterns, when present, appears to play a significant role in addressing patellofemoral pain. Therefore, movement retraining, while adhering to basic motor control principles, should be part of a therapist’s intervention skillset when treating patients with PFP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-114
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • Gait retraining
  • Motor learning
  • Movement retraining
  • Patellofemoral pain


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