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Neal Glaviano, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and athletic training clinical education coordinator, has received $1.5 million from the Department of Defense to test a new approach to treating chronic knee pain.

Glaviano will be working on a new treatment approach to patellofemoral pain, which affects the area around the knee and kneecap.  This common injury is the result of stress on the patellofemoral joint (the area under the kneecap) caused by physical activity like running or jumping. This can cause pain when performing any activity that involves flexing the knee joint, including running, walking, sitting, or squatting.

Currently, approximately two thirds of patients who seek treatment for patellofemoral pain still experience pain within two years after treatment.

The development of better treatment options is of particular interest for the Department of Defense. The physically rigorous requirements of basic training often lead cadets to develop patellofemoral pain that can put them permanently out of commission.

Glaviano, who has served in the Army National Guard, says he saw this first-hand.

“When I look at a lot of the people I served with, a lot of them were having chronic kneecap pain, and it’s one of the leading reasons people aren’t able to complete basic training,” Glaviano says.

Glaviano’s project, titled Strength Training Rehabilitation Incorporating Power Exercises (STRIPE), will take a new approach to patellofemoral rehabilitation that involves incorporating power-based exercises in addition to traditional strength-based exercises.

The power-based exercises in Glaviano’s program will focus on the hips, quadriceps, and core muscles, all of which impact the movement and health of the knee joint.

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