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Dynamic joint stability measured as gait symmetry in people with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis

Haglund, Emma, Pinheiro Sant'anna, Anita, Andersson, Maria, Bremander, Ann, Aili, Katarina

Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)


Background: Modern strategies for knee osteoarthritis (OA) treatment and prevention includes early detection and analyses about pain, gait and lower extremity muscle function including both strength and stability. The very first sign of knee OA is pain or perceived knee instability, often experienced during weight bearing activities e.g. walking. Increased muscle strength will provide dynamic joint stability, reduce pain, and disability. Specific measures of gait symmetry (GS) can be assessed objectively by using accelerometers, which potentially is a feasible method when evaluating early symptoms of symptomatic knee OA.

Objectives: The aim was to study if symptoms of early knee pain affected gait symmetry, and the association between lower extremity muscles function and gait symmetry in patients with symptomatic knee OA.

Methods: Thirty-five participants (mean age 52 SD 9 years, 66% women) with uni- or bilateral symptomatic knee OA, and without signs of an inflammatory rheumatic disease or knee trauma were included. Pain was assessed by a numeric rating scale (NRS, range 0-10 best to worse), tests of lower extremity muscle function with the maximum number of one leg rises. Dynamic stability was measured as GS by using wearable inertial sensors (PXNordic senseneering platform), during the 6 min walking test to obtain spatio-temporal gait parameters. GS was computed based on stride time (temporal symmetry, TS) and stride length (spatial symmetry, SS). Stride length was normalized by height. Kruskal-Wallis and Spearman’s correlation coefficient were used for analyses.

Results: Reports of knee pain did not differ between gender (women 4.7, SD 2.4 vs. men 3.9, SD 2.4, p= 0.362), neither did one leg rises or gait symmetry. Participants who reported unilateral knee pain (left/right side n=9/13), had a shorter stride length on the painful side. The mean difference in stride length was 0.7% of the subject’s height (SD 1.3). Participants with unilateral pain also presented less SS gait than those who reported bilateral pain (p=0.005). The higher number of one-leg rises performed, the better TS was observed. We found a significant relationship between TS and one-leg rise for the right r s =-0.39, p=0.006, and left r s =-0.40, p=0.004 left side). No significant relationship was observed between SS and one-leg rises.

Conclusion: Our results is in line with earlier findings stating that knee pain affects GS negatively and that lower extremity muscle function is an important feature for symmetry and dynamic joint stability in patients with symptomatic knee OA. We also found that pain in one leg was related to impaired GS. Bilateral knee pain was however more symmetrical and will need healthy controls for comparison to better understand the negative impact of symptomatic knee OA.

Nyckelord: Knee osteoarthritis; joint stability; objective measure

Citera: Haglund, Emma, Pinheiro Sant'Anna, Anita, Andersson, Maria, Bremander, Ann & Aili, Katarina, Dynamic joint stability measured as gait symmetry in people with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases., 78:Suppl. 2, s. -1458, 2019https://ard.bmj.com/content/78/Suppl_2/1458.1