Back to Journals » Journal of Pain Research » Volume 13

Effects of Trigger Point Dry Needling on Neuromuscular Performance and Pain of Individuals Affected by Patellofemoral Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Authors Ma YT, Li LH, Han Q, Wang XL, Jia PY, Huang QM, Zheng YJ

Received 28 November 2019

Accepted for publication 8 June 2020

Published 7 July 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 1677—1686


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr E Alfonso Romero-Sandoval

Yan-Tao Ma, 1, 2,* Li-Hui Li, 2, 3,* Qi Han, 1 Xiao-Lei Wang, 1 Pei-Yu Jia, 1 Qiang-Min Huang, 2 Yong-Jun Zheng 1

1Department of Pain Management, Huadong Hospital Affiliated to Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Sport Rehabilitation, School of Kinesiology, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 3School of Medicine, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Yong-Jun Zheng; Qiang-Min Huang Email;

Purpose: To investigate the effects of trigger point dry needling (TrP-DN) on exercise-induced patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS).
Patients and Methods: In this randomized, single-blind, parallel-group trial, 50 patients with PFPS were randomly allocated to the following two groups: the TrP-DN group (n = 25) and the Sham needling group (n = 25). Patients in both groups were asked to perform a stretching exercise of the quadriceps daily after needling. The needling group received a single session of TrP-DN to trigger points (TrPs) in the vastus medialis oblique (VMO), vastus lateralis (VL), and rectus femoris muscles (once a week for 6 weeks), and the Sham group received placebo needling. Visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain intensity and Kujala questionnaire for the functional status were assessed before treatment, 3 and 6 weeks after treatment, and at the 3-month follow-up. The ratio of the myoelectric amplitude of the vastus medialis oblique and vastus lateralis muscles (VMO/VL) was assessed before treatment and 6 weeks after treatment.
Results: There was no significant difference in the general data between the two groups. The VAS scores and Kujala scores in the TrP-DN group were significantly improved and increased at the 3-week treatment visit, 6-week treatment visit, and 3-month follow-up compared to the scores before treatment; and the scores in the Sham group were only significantly improved at the 3-week treatment visit, and 6-week treatment visit. VAS scores in the TrP-DN group were significantly lower and Kujala scores were significantly higher at the 6-week treatment visit and the 3-month follow-up compared to those in the Sham group. The VMO/VL ratio in the TrP-DN group was significantly increased at the 6-week treatment visit compared to that before treatment.
Conclusion: TrP-DN at the quadriceps combined with stretch can reduce the pain, and improves the clinical symptoms and function, the VMO/VL ratio, and the coordination of VMO and VL in patients with PFPS.

Keywords: patellofemoral pain syndrome, myofascial trigger points, stretching

Corrigendum for this paper has been published

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]