There is an evidence practice gap in patellofemoral pain that can be bridged

Dr Christian Barton1, Dr Michael Rathleff2, Professor Kay  Crossley1

1La Trobe Sport And Exercise Medicine Research Centre, Bundoora, Australia, 2Research Unit for General Practice in Aalborg and Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University,, Aalborg, Denmark

Aim: Level 1 evidence supports exercise therapy, patellar taping and foot orthoses for patellofemoral pain (PFP) management. This study evaluated (i) knowledge of, and confidence in applying current evidence amongst physiotherapists; and (ii) whether a structured workshop can improve knowledge and confidence.

Method: Physiotherapists attending a one day PFP workshop were invited to complete a pre and post workshop survey to evaluate their knowledge of, and confidence in applying the current evidence base. The survey also explored potential resources which may assist in bridging any evidence-practice gaps identified.

Results: 72% (71/98) of invited physiotherapists averaging completed the first survey, with 82% (58/71) completing the second survey. Of note, 36% of participants believed there was supporting evidence for Kinesio® taping techniques despite an absence of evidence; and only 23% believed there was supporting evidence for foot orthoses prescription, despite clear supporting evidence. Additionally, 75% were confident in the use of Kinesio® tape, but just 38% were confident in the use of foot orthoses. Knowledge of evidence for, and confidence in applying proximal exercise (p=0.029), foot orthoses (p<0.001) and tailored patellar taping (p<0.001) improved following the workshop. Numerous online resources were proposed to help bridge the evidence-practice gap.

Significance of the findings to allied health: There is a clear evidence-practice gap in physiotherapist’s management of PFP, which can be bridged through workshop participation. Further research is needed to see if these improvements translate to improved patient outcomes, and whether more freely available online resources may be similarly effective in improving knowledge and confidence of physiotherapists managing PFP.