The Journal of orthopaedic and sports physical therapy vol:24 issue:3 pages:160-5
Various authors have indicated that imbalance of the vastus medialis/vastus lateralis muscles might lead to patellofemoral pain syndrome. However, few reports have been published to substantiate such a hypothesis. The purpose of this study was to attempt to set a scale for the normal reflex response times of the vastus medialis oblique and vastus lateralis muscles after a patellar tendon tap and to determine if patellofemoral pain syndrome patients have an alteration in this firing sequence. A control group of 80 healthy adults was compared with a group of 19 patellofemoral pain syndrome patients. Results indicated that the reflex response time of the vastus medialis oblique was significantly shorter than the reflex response time of the vastus lateralis in the normal subjects (p < or = .01). When comparing these data in the patellofemoral pain syndrome group, a significant earlier firing was obtained from the vastus lateralis in comparison with the vastus medialis oblique (p < or = .01). These findings suggest that a reversal has occurred in the firing pattern of the vastus medialis oblique and vastus lateralis muscles in patellofemoral pain syndrome patients. The results indicate an alteration in the neuromuscular answer of the vastus medialis oblique and vastus lateralis muscles during a patellar tendon tap.