BACKGROUND: Sitting-related pain is a common feature of patellofemoral pain (PFP). However, little is known regarding features associated with sitting-related PFP. The aim of this study was to determine whether sitting-related PFP is associated with patellofemoral alignment, morphology and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features of the patellofemoral joint (cartilage lesions, bone marrow lesions, fat pad synovitis).
METHODS: 133 individuals with PFP were included from two unique but similar cohorts. Participants were classified into one of three groups based on their response to item 8 of the Anterior Knee Pain Scale: (i) problems with sitting; (ii) sitting pain after exercise; and (iii) no difficulty with sitting. All participants underwent 3T Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to enable: (i) scoring of structural features of the patellofemoral joint with MRI Osteoarthritis Knee Score (MOAKS); and (ii) patellofemoral alignment and morphology measurements using standardised methods. The association of sitting pain to bony alignment, morphology and MOAKS features were evaluated using multinomial logistic regression (adjusted for age, sex, BMI; reference group = no difficulty with sitting).
RESULTS: 82 (61.7%) participants reported problems with sitting, and 24 (18%) participants reported sitting pain after exercise. There were no significant associations between the presence of sitting pain and any morphology, alignment or structural characteristics.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings indicate that PFP related to sitting is not associated with patellofemoral alignment, morphology, or structural MRI features of the patellofemoral joint. Further research to determine mechanisms of sitting-related PFP, and inform targeted treatments, are required.