ABSTRACT

Context: Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is prevalent and challenging to manage. Most people with PFP are unsatisfied with their knee function 6-months following treatment, and report ongoing pain up to 16-years after diagnosis. Confidence and knowledge to provide evidence-based care to people with PFP amongst Athletic Trainers (ATs) is currently unknown.

Objective: Investigate confidence and knowledge of ATs for the treatment, diagnosis, risk factors, and prognosis with current evidence for PFP.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Online survey.

Patient or Other Participants: A random sample of 3000 ATs were invited to participate; 261 completed the survey (10% participation rate, 88% completion rate).

Main Outcome Measures(s): AT demographics, confidence in PFP management, and knowledge related to diagnosis, risk factors, prognosis and treatment were surveyed. Chi-squared analyses assessed responses related to confidence and knowledge to manage PFP. ATs beliefs about evidence was compared to current evidence available (i.e. consensus statements, position statements, systematic reviews).

Results: 91% of ATs surveyed were confident that their management of PFP aligns with current evidence, but only 59% were confident in identifying risk factors for PFP development. 91–92% of ATs responded that quadriceps and hip muscle weakness were risk factor for PFP, which aligns with current evidence for quadriceps but not hip muscle weakness. 93–97% of AT responses related to therapeutic exercise aligned with current evidence. However, 35–48% of responses supported the use of passive treatments, such as electrophysical agents and ultrasound, which do not align with current evidence.

Conclusion: Most ATs are aware of supporting evidence for therapeutic exercise in PFP management and are confident providing it, providing a strong foundation for evidence-based care. However, varying awareness of evidence related to risk factors and passive treatments for PFP highlights a need for professional development initiatives to better align AT knowledge with current evidence.

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