Imaging and Musculoskeletal Modeling to Investigate the Mechanical Etiology of Patellofemoral Pain

  • Thor F. Besier
  • Christine Draper
  • Saikat Pal
  • Michael Fredericson
  • Garry Gold
  • Scott Delp
  • Gary Beaupré


Despite the wealth of scientific literature regarding the knee extensor mechanism and patellofemoral (PF) pain, the etiology of PF pain is still poorly understood. Accurate clinical assessment and subject-specific treatment plans for patients with PF pain remain a challenge due to the complexity of the extensor mechanism, large variation among subjects, and the multifactorial nature of the syndrome. However, only once the mechanism of pain is properly understood will we be able to develop effective intervention programs to reduce the incidence and severity of this common knee disorder. To this end, the goal of our research is to understand the etiology of PF pain using a novel combination of medical imaging and musculoskeletal modeling.

The subjective nature of pain presents a problem for researchers wishing to understand the mechanism of PF pain. Most of us appreciate that pain can be related to some physical cause and this explains the majority of PF pain research to date, which attempts to associate symptoms with some mechanical variable(s). However, despite the wealth of literature investigating the mechanical etiology of PF pain, mechanical variables remain poor predictors of symptoms. This is most likely due to our inability to accurately measure or estimate the mechanical variable(s) of interest, as well as our difficulty to quantify and standardize levels of pain.


Patellar Tendon Muscle Force Patellofemoral Joint Trochlear Groove Patellar Tilt 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thor F. Besier
    • 1
  • Christine Draper
  • Saikat Pal
  • Michael Fredericson
  • Garry Gold
  • Scott Delp
  • Gary Beaupré
  1. 1.Auckland Bioengineering InstituteThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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