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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Background: Current multimodal approaches for the management of non-specific patellofemoral pain are not optimal, however, targeted intervention for subgroups could improve patient outcomes. This study explores whether subgrouping of non-specific patellofemoral pain patients, using a series of low cost simple clinical tests, is possible.
Continue reading Are there three main subgroups within the patellofemoral pain population? A detailed characterisation study of 127 patients to help develop targeted intervention (TIPPs), Selfe, J. et al. , British Journal of Sports Medicine, 50 (14), pp. 873-880, 2016.
Introduction: This article is part of the Focus Theme of Methods of Information in Medicine on “Methodologies, Models and Algorithms for Patients Rehabilitation”.
Objectives: The objective of the proposed approach is to develop a clinical decision support system (DSS) that will help clinicians optimally plan the ACL reconstruction procedure in a patient specific manner.
Continue reading ACL Reconstruction Decision Support. Personalized Simulation of the Lachman Test and Custom Activities, D. Stanev et al., Methods of Information in Medicine, 55 (1), pp. 98-105, January, 2016.
Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects the joints. The surfaces within the joints become damaged so the joint doesn’t move as smoothly as it should. When a joint develops osteoarthritis, some of the cartilage covering the ends of the bones gradually roughens and becomes thin, and the bone underneath thickens.
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