Diagnostic accuracy and association to disability of clinical test findings associated with patellofemoral pain syndrome


Journal Article

Purpose: To investigate the diagnostic accuracy and association to disability of selected functional findings or physical examination tests for patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) in patients with anterior knee pain. Methods: A sample of 76 consecutive patients with anterior knee pain was further subdivided into PFPS and other diagnoses. Routine physical examination tests were examined in a prospective, consecutive-subjects design for a cohort of patients with anterior knee pain. Diagnostic accuracy findings, including sensitivity, specificity, positive (PPV) and negative (NPV) predictive value, and positive (LR+) and negative (LR- likelihood ratios, were calculated for each test. PPV and NPV reflect the percentage of time of positive or a negative test (respectively) accurately captures the diagnosis of the condition. LR+ and LR- reflect alterations in post-test probability when the test is positive or negative (respectively). Lastly, associations to disability (International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) subjective form) were calculated for each clinical finding. Results: Diagnostic accuracy analyses of individual functional assessment and situational phenomena suggest that the strongest diagnostic test is pain encountered during resisted muscle contraction of the knee (PPV = 82%; LR+ = 2.2; 95% CI: 0.99-5.2). Clusters of test findings were substantially more diagnostic, with any two of three positive findings of muscle contraction, pain during squatting, and pain during palpation yielding the following values: PPV = 89%; LR+ = 4.0 (95% CI: 1.8-10.3). No individual or clustered test findings were significantly associated with the IKDC score. Conclusion: Combinations of functional assessment tests and situational phenomena are diagnostic for PFPS and may serve to rule in and rule out the presence of PFPS. Single findings are not related to disability scores (IKDC).

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cook, C; Hegedus, E; Hawkins, R; Scovell, F; Wyland, D

Published Date

  • March 12, 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 62 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 17 - 24

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0300-0508

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3138/physio.62.1.17

Citation Source

  • Scopus