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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

, 14:326

Orthopedics and biomechanics


BackgroundSelf-reported knee joint instability compromises function in individuals with medial knee osteoarthritis and may be related to impaired joint mechanics. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between self-reported instability and the passive varus-valgus mechanical behaviour of the medial osteoarthritis knee.

MethodsPassive varus-valgus angular laxity and stiffness were assessed using a modified isokinetic dynamometer in 73 participants with medial tibiofemoral osteoarthritis. All participants self-reported the absence or presence of knee instability symptoms and the degree to which instability affected daily activity on a 6-point likert scale.

ResultsForward linear regression modelling identified a significant inverse relationship between passive mid-range knee stiffness and symptoms of knee instability r = 0.27; P < 0.05: reduced stiffness was indicative of more severe instability symptoms. Angular laxity and end-range stiffness were not related to instability symptoms P > 0.05.

ConclusionsConceivably, a stiffer passive system may contribute toward greater joint stability during functional activities. Importantly however, net joint stiffness is influenced by both active and passive stiffness, and thus the active neuromuscular system may compensate for reduced passive stiffness in order to maintain joint stability. Future work is merited to examine the role of active stiffness in symptomatic joint stability.

KeywordsKnee osteoarthritis Passive stiffness Instability Varus-valgus laxity Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2474-14-326 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Mark W Creaby - Tim V Wrigley - Boon-Whatt Lim - Rana S Hinman - Adam L Bryant - Kim L Bennell


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