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Descending stairs requires elevated joint moment-generating capability in the lower limbs, making it a challenging daily activity, particularly for older individuals. The aim of the study was to investigate the influence of three different strategies for descending standard and increased height stairs: step-over-step (SoS), step-by-step (SbS) and side-step (SS) on lower limb kinetics in older people. Eleven participants (mean ± SD age: 74.8 ± 3.1 years, height: 1.63 ± 0.07 m, mass: 67.7 ± 9.5 kg) descended a four-step custom built instrumented staircase at a self-selected speed, adopting each of the three strategies, at two configurations: a step-rise height of 170 mm (standard; STD) and a step-rise height of 255 mm (increased; INC). 3D motion capture, synchronised with embedded force plates enabled the calculation of joint kinetics of lead and trail limbs. Data were analysed using a Linear Mixed Model with gait speed selected as a covariate during weight acceptance (WA) and controlled lowering (CL) phases. A large increase in hip extensor moment in both WA and CL in the lead limb was evident during both SoS and SbS at INC step height compared to STD (P < .015 for all), with no such increase in hip flexor moment evident in SS strategy (P = .519). Lead limb knee extensor moment decreased and plantarflexor moment increased in INC SoS compared to STD SoS during CL (P < .001 for both). In the trail limb, increased hip extensor and plantarflexor moments were seen in INC SS compared to STD SS (P < .001 for both). The alternate strategies result in the overall task demand being split between the lead limb (weight acceptance) and trail limb (controlled lowering). Differential demand distribution patterns exist between strategies that imply targeted interventions and/or advice could be provided to older individuals in order to promote safe descent of stairs, particularly for those with specific muscle weaknesses or at high risk of falls.

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Background

Despite the large number of cross-sectional studies on gait in subjects with knee osteoarthritis, there are scarcely any longitudinal studies on gait changes in knee osteoarthritis.

Methods

Gait analysis was performed on 25 women with early and 18 with established medial knee osteoarthritis, as well as a group of 23 healthy controls. Subjects were asked to walk at their comfortable speed. Kinematic and kinetic data were measured at baseline and after 2 years follow-up.

Findings

Results indicated that the early osteoarthritis group, similar to established osteoarthritis group, showed significantly higher maximum knee adduction angles compared to the controls during the early stance phase of gait. None of the kinematic or kinetic measures, changed over two years in the early osteoarthritis group. In the established osteoarthritis group, at the time of entry, an increased first and second peak knee adduction moment, as well as higher mid-stance knee adduction moment and knee adduction moment impulse, were present compared to the control and the early osteoarthritis groups. Mid-stance knee adduction moment and knee adduction moment impulse, further increased over two years only in the established osteoarthritis group. For all three groups, the peak knee flexion angle during the stance phase decreased significantly over time.

Interpretation

Increased maximum knee adduction angle during stance phase was the only alteration in the gait pattern of subjects with early knee osteoarthritis compared to the controls. This suggests that, unlike in the later stages of the disease, gait is rather stable over two years in early osteoarthritis.

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Objective:

The aim of this study was to examine the relationship of psychosocial factors, namely, pain catastrophizing, kinesiophobia, and maladaptive coping strategies, with muscle strength, pain, and physical performance in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA)-related symptoms.

Methods:

A total of 109 women (64 with knee OA-related symptoms) with a mean age of 65.4 years (49-81 years) were recruited for this study. Psychosocial factors were quantified by the Pain Catastrophizing Scale, Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia, and Pain Coping Inventory. Clinical features were assessed using isometric and isokinetic knee muscle strength measurements, visual analog scale, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index, and functional tests. Associations were examined using correlation and regression analysis.

Results:

In knee OA patients, pain catastrophizing, kinesiophobia, and coping strategy explained a significant proportion of the variability in isometric knee extension and flexion strength (6.3%-9.2%), accounting for more overall variability than some demographic and medical status variables combined. Psychosocial factors were not significant independent predictors of isokinetic strength, knee pain, or physical performance.

Conclusions:

In understanding clinical features related to knee OA, such as muscle weakness, pain catastrophizing, kinesiophobia, and coping strategy might offer something additional beyond what might be explained by traditional factors, underscoring the importance of a biopsychosocial approach in knee OA management. Further research on individual patient characteristics that mediate the effects of psychosocial factors is, however, required in order to create opportunities for more targeted, personalized treatment for knee OA.

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Background

Dynamic and static varus alignment, both, have been reported as risk factors associated with structural progression of knee osteoarthritis. However the association of none of the static and dynamic alignment with structural, clinical, and functional progression associated with knee osteoarthritis has not been assessed yet in a longitudinal study.

Methods

Forty-seven women with early and established medial knee osteoarthritis were evaluated. Static and dynamic alignment as well as MRI detected structural features, clinical, and functional characteristics of patients were assessed at baseline and at 2 years follow-up. Associations between baseline static and dynamic alignment with structural, functional, and clinical characteristics at the time of entry, as well as the changes over 2 years were evaluated.

Findings

Both static and dynamic varus alignment at baseline were significantly associated with osteoarthritis related tibio-femoral joint structural abnormalities detected on MRI, at the time of entry. Only the magnitude of varus thrust at baseline was predictive of the changes in the presence of meniscal maceration over two years. None of the static or dynamic measures of knee joint alignment were associated with clinical characteristics associated with medial knee osteoarthritis.

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The International Workshop on Osteoarthritis Imaging provides an interactive environment for those interested in osteoarthritis imaging to learn and network. Participants represent the diverse scope of the field and include professionals from specialties including medicine, surgery, radiology, medical physics and physiotherapists, as well as a broad array of professional backgrounds including academia, industry, government and regulatory agencies.

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There has been steady progress in osteoarthritis (OA) biomarker research in 2016. Several novel biomarkers were identified and new technologies have been developed for measuring existing biomarkers. However, there has been no “quantum leap” this past year and identification of novel early OA biomarkers remains challenging. During the past year, OARSI published a set of recommendations for the use of soluble biomarkers in clinical trials, which is a major step forward in the clinical use of OA biomarkers and bodes well for future OA biomarker development.

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24 April 2018, Brussels, Belgium

The open science platform – Frontiers – is organising its second Data Services Workshop in collaboration with the EU Horizon 2020 projects OpenMinTed and OpenUp. This year’s workshop focuses on the application of open research data to support sustainable health initiatives. The event features panelists from leading institutions and companies specializing in this data-driven health research, together with representatives from academic libraries, patient advocacy, research funders, universities and the European Commission.

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