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Soft tissue mobilization may help athletes with knee pain: study

shutterstock_107814227.jpgNov. 5, 2014 – Soft tissue mobilization may be beneficial for athletes experiencing lateral knee pain, according to a new case study published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (IJTMB).

November 5, 2014  By Massage Therapy Canada staff

The study’s author, John Winslow, presented case reports showing results
of the treatment of lateral knee pain in four female amateur
triathletes. The athletes were referred to Winslow’s clinic with either a
diagnosis of iliotibial band friction syndrome or patellofemoral pain
syndrome, all four having symptoms for longer than seven months.

Changes in training routines were identified as the possible cause of
the overuse injuries that eventually developed into chronic conditions,
the report said.

Treatment involved soft tissue mobilization of the musculotendinous structures on the lateral aspect of the knee.

At four weeks, three of the athletes improved nine to 19 points on the
Lower Extremity Functional Scale, three to five points on the Global
Rating of Change Scale, and demonstrated improvement in hamstring and
iliotibial band flexibility.


At eight weeks the Global Rating of Change for these three athletes was a
seven (“a very great deal better”) and they had returned to triathlon
training with no complaints of lateral knee pain. One athlete did not
respond to treatment and eventually underwent arthroscopic surgery for
debridement of a lateral meniscus tear.

The author concluded: “After ruling out common causes for lateral knee
pain such as lateral meniscus tear, lateral collateral ligament sprain,
patellofemoral dysfunction, osteochondral injury, biceps femoris
tendonitis, iliotibial band friction syndrome or osteoarthritis, soft
tissue restriction should be considered a potential source of

Winslow pointed out that in some cases, soft tissue restriction is
overlooked “athletes go undiagnosed and are limited from sports

The report can be found in the most recent issue of IJTMB.

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