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Altered tibiofemoral joint contact mechanics and kinematics in patients with knee osteoarthritis and episodic complaints of joint instability

Authors
Journal
Clinical Biomechanics
0268-0033
Publisher
Elsevier
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2014.04.014
Keywords
  • Contact Mechanics
  • Instability
  • Kinematics
  • Gait
Disciplines
  • Medicine
  • Physics

Abstract

Abstract Background To evaluate knee joint contact mechanics and kinematics during the loading response phase of downhill gait in knee osteoarthritis patients with self-reported instability. Methods Forty-three subjects, 11 with medial compartment knee osteoarthritis and self-reported instability (unstable), 7 with medial compartment knee osteoarthritis but no reports of instability (stable), and 25 without knee osteoarthritis or instability (control) underwent Dynamic Stereo X-ray analysis during a downhill gait task on a treadmill. Findings The medial compartment contact point excursions were longer in the unstable group compared to the stable (P=0.046) and the control groups (P=0.016). The peak medial compartment contact point velocity was also greater for the unstable group compared to the stable (P=0.047) and control groups (P=0.022). Additionally, the unstable group demonstrated a coupled movement pattern of knee extension and external rotation after heel contact which was different than the coupled motion of knee flexion and internal rotation demonstrated by stable and control groups. Interpretation Our findings suggest that knee joint contact mechanics and kinematics are altered during the loading response phase of downhill gait in knee osteoarthritis patients with self-reported instability. The observed longer medial compartment contact point excursions and higher velocities represent objective signs of mechanical instability that may place the arthritic knee joint at increased risk for disease progression. Further research is indicated to explore the clinical relevance of altered contact mechanics and kinematics during other common daily activities and to assess the efficacy of rehabilitation programs to improve altered joint biomechanics in knee osteoarthritis patients with self-reported instability.

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