Faculty Advisor(s)

Kirsten Buchanan

Document Type

Course Paper

Publication Date



© 2017 Patricia Dobrowski


Background and Purpose: Graston® Technique (GT) is an instrumented tool used in rehab shown to improve soft tissue injuries. While studies have shown GT to be effective with injuries such as achilles tendinitis, it has not been extensively studied in patients with patellofemoral pain. The purpose of this case report was to investigate a plan of care that included GT in a 38-year-old male ultimate frisbee athlete with patellofemoral pain. Case Description: The patient was an active 38-year-old father of four and a recreational ultimate frisbee player. His chief complaints were pain in the lateral compartment of the right knee, knee stiffness, and an inability to play with his children without pain. The patient was seen once a week for sixteen weeks. Physical therapy treatment included IASTM using GT on the surrounding tissue structures of the knee, stretching and strengthening of the lower extremity, and a comprehensive home exercise program (HEP). Outcome measures included lower extremity functional index (LEFI), numeric pain rating scale (NPRS) and the deep squat test. Outcomes: LEFI improved from 19% to 6% disability from initial evaluation (IE) to discharge, which indicated a clinically significant difference. At IE, the deep squat test reproduced 5/10 pain on the NPRS with visible lateral patellar tracking to less than 1/10 pain and significantly reduced lateral tracking of the patella at discharge. The patient’s pain while playing ultimate frisbee improved from 7/10 to 1/10 on the NPRS. Discussion: A rehab program that combined GT with general lower extremity exercise was an effective treatment for a 38-year-old patient with patellofemoral pain. Future research should investigate the use of GT in a larger population of patients with patellofemoral pain.



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