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Muscle Strength Loss and Its Effect on Knee Cap Motion in Volunteers With Anterior Knee Pain

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Know the risks and potential benefits of clinical studies and talk to your health care provider before participating. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT01862731
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : May 24, 2013
Last Update Posted : January 18, 2022
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)

Brief Summary:


- Researchers are interested in how the muscles affect the movement of the knee cap. These muscles may be related to different kinds of knee pain that are not caused by an injury or a disease. Imaging studies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to look at these muscles. To study these muscles and how they move, researchers will use MRI to look at healthy individuals and individuals with knee cap pain.


- To study how changes to the muscles around the knee can influence knee pain.


  • Individuals between 18 to 55 years of age who have knee cap pain that cannot be explained by a specific injury or disease.
  • Healthy volunteers between 18 and 55 years of age.


  • Participants will be screened with a physical exam and medical history.
  • This study requires two visits. Each visit will use standard MRI sequences to take images of the knee in motion and at rest.
  • On the first visit, the MRI scan will look at the knee in its natural state. Participants will move the knee up and down for 1 to 3 minutes at a time during the scan.
  • On the second visit, a local anesthetic agent will be injected into the muscle of the thigh. The anesthetic will block this muscle from generating force for 2 or 3 hours. Participants will move the knee up and down for 1 to 3 minutes at a time during the MRI scan.

Condition or disease
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Detailed Description:
Chronic idiopathic patellofemoral pain, a potential precursor to osteoarthritis, is one of the most common problems of the knee. It is characterized by anterior knee pain that is aggravated by deep knee flexion, prolonged sitting, and repetitive flexion/extension. The most widely accepted theory in regards to the source of this pain is that a force imbalance around the knee leads to static patellofemoral malalignment and dynamic patellofemoral maltracking. In turn, this malalignment and maltracking leads to elevated joint contact stresses, which ultimately leads to patellofemoral pain. Current understanding of patellofemoral maltracking is typically focused on static 2D alignment (lateral tilt and displacement). Yet, patellofemoral pain is most often exacerbated during dynamic events and the patella has complete six degrees of freedom in its movement. More recent studies have been able to quantify patellofemoral kinematics during volitional dynamic tasks and demonstrate that the maltracking problem is more complex than originally postulated. Specifically, in patients with patellofemoral pain, altered kinematics are not limited to excessive patellar lateral translation and tilt, but include excessive patellar superior translation along with excessive flexion and valgus rotations. Flexion and valgus are sagittal and coronal plane rotations that cause the superior pole of the patella to shift anteriorly and medially, respectively. Recent work has shown that altered force balance around the knee can indeed lead to maltracking. However, the question remains whether correcting an existing force imbalance around the knee can normalize patellar kinematics and/or reduce pain. The purpose of this study is to determine how temporary iatrogenic loss of force in the vastus lateralis muscle alters the aberrant patellar kinematics in subjects with chronic idiopathic patellofemoral pain.

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Study Type : Observational
Estimated Enrollment : 50 participants
Observational Model: Cohort
Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: Vasti Control of Patellofemoral Kinematics in Patients With Chronic Patellofemoral Pain.
Actual Study Start Date : May 31, 2013
Estimated Primary Completion Date : December 31, 2024
Estimated Study Completion Date : December 31, 2025

1/Control Volunteers
Healthy controls
2/Volunteers with Pain
Subjects with Chronic Idiopathic Patellofemoral Pain

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. PF kinematics and the level of pain experience by the subject [ Time Frame: prior to and after a nerve block ]
    The change in patellofemoral kinematics, patellofemoral pain, and quadriceps strength pre- and post-muscle block.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 55 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Sampling Method:   Non-Probability Sample
Study Population
Participants will be recruited primarily from the greater Washington DC area. It will be advertised through, social media, flyers, and word of mouth.@@@

    1. Male and female volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55


All Volunteers

  1. Any relevant medical problems, including 933 those preventing ambulation
  2. Any serious injury to the joint being studied, previous surgery on the joint being studiedor extreme pain at the joint being studied or other condition that may explain the presence of PF_pain (e.g., meniscal tear, arthritis)
  3. Allergy/hypersensitivity to any local anesthetic agent (e.g., Novocain, lidocaine, bupivacaine, ropivacaine)
  4. Liver disease
  5. Open angle glaucoma
  6. Cardiac arrhythmias, congenital heart disease
  7. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency
  8. Any female who is pregnant

A volunteer will be excluded if they have a contraindication to MR imaging. Examples are:

  1. Metal within their body, which might be expected to concentrate radiofrequency fields or cause tissue damage from twisting in a magnetic field (e.g., aneurysm clip, implanted neural stimulator, implanted cardiac pacemaker or autodefibrillator, cochlear implant, other foreign body (e.g. metal shavings, insulin pump).
  2. A condition, which would preclude them from participating in an MR imaging study (e.g., paralyzed hemidiaphragm, morbid obesity, severe claustrophobia)
  3. A condition that presents an unnecessary risk to them or their unborn child (e.g., 953 pregnancy, previous surgery of uncertain type, symptoms of pheochromocytoma or insulinoma)

Subjects with Chronic Idiopathic Patellofemoral Pai:

1. Lack of PF_pain (either no active pain or current pain of < 6 months duration)

Control Volunteers:

  1. Any clinical signs of a knee impairment in the joint being studied, including abnormal range of motion, muscle weakness, malalignment, and ligament damage.
  2. The presence of PF_pain (either active or past)

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT01862731

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Contact: Frances Gavelli, Ph.D. (301) 451-7585

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United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike Recruiting
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Contact: For more information at the NIH Clinical Center contact Office of Patient Recruitment (OPR)    800-411-1222 ext TTY8664111010   
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
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Principal Investigator: Frances Gavelli, Ph.D. National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
Additional Information:
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Responsible Party: National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) Identifier: NCT01862731    
Other Study ID Numbers: 130099
First Posted: May 24, 2013    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: January 18, 2022
Last Verified: September 2, 2021

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Muscle Force
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Natural History
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Joint Diseases
Musculoskeletal Diseases