Anterior knee pain is a highly prevalent condition affecting largely young to middle aged adults. Symptoms can recur in more than two thirds of cases, often resulting in activity limitation and reduced participation in employment and recreational pursuits. Persistent anterior knee pain is difficult to treat and many individuals eventually consider a surgical intervention. Evidence for long term benefit of most conservative treatments or surgical approaches is currently lacking. Injection of Botulinum toxin type A to the distal region of vastus lateralis muscle causes a short term functional “denervation” which moderates the influence of vastus lateralis muscle on the knee extensor mechanism and increases the relative contribution of the vastus medialis muscle. Initial data suggest that, compared with other interventions for anterior knee pain, Botulinum toxin type A injection, in combination with an active exercise programme, can lead to sustained relief of symptoms, reduced health care utilisation and increased activity participation. The procedure is less invasive than surgical intervention, relatively easy to perform, and is time- and cost-effective. Further studies, including larger randomized placebo-controlled trials, are required to confirm the effectiveness of Botulinum toxin type A injection for anterior knee pain and to elaborate the possible mechanisms underpinning pain and symptom relief.
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