Patellofemoral pain, age, and the effect of orthoses.

Age-related differences in foot mobility in individuals with patellofemoral pain. Tan et al, Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, 201811:5

Age-related changes in midfoot mobility have the potential to influence success with foot orthoses intervention in people with patellofemoral pain (PFP). The aim of this study was to determine whether older people with PFP demonstrate less foot mobility than younger adults with PFP.


One hundred ninety four participants (113 (58%) women, age 32 ± 7 years, BMI 25 ± 4.9 kg/m2) with PFP (≥ 6 weeks duration) were included, with foot mobility quantified using reliable and valid methods. K-means cluster analysis classified participants into three homogenous groups based on age. After cluster formation, univariate analyses of co-variance (covariates: sex, weight) were used to compare midfoot height mobility, midfoot width mobility, and foot mobility magnitude between age groups (significance level 0.05).


Cluster analysis revealed three distinct age groups: 18–29 years (n = 70); 30–39 years (n = 101); and 40–50 years (n = 23). There was a significant main effect for age for midfoot height mobility (p < 0.001) and foot mobility magnitude (p = 0.006). Post-hoc analyses revealed that midfoot height mobility differed across all three groups (moderate to large effect sizes), and that foot mobility magnitude was significantly less in those aged 40–50 years compared to those aged 18–25 years (moderate effect size). There were no significant main effects for age for midfoot width mobility (p > 0.05).


Individuals with PFP aged 40–50 years have less foot mobility than younger adults with PFP. These findings may have implications for evaluation and treatment of older individuals with PFP.


This study observed that in individuals with PFP, those aged 40–50 years had less foot mobility than younger adults aged 18–29 years, as evidenced by measures of midfoot height mobility and foot mobility magnitude. These differences represented a moderate effect size, and exceed the intra-rater minimal detectable change (MDC 95%) associated with these measures (midfoot height mobility 2 mm; foot mobility magnitude 3.1 mm ). The differences between age groups were specific to both midfoot height mobility and foot mobility magnitude; however, there were no differences in midfoot width mobility.

Simon Bartold
Director of Bartold Clinical