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Cane use may reduce risk of knee osteoarthritis progression
Date:5/8/2008

using a state-of-the-art Vicon 6-camera motion analysis system. Embedded in the test area walkway, and unknown to participants, two force plates captured ground impact. Reflective markers, strategically placed on the pelvis, thigh, knee joint, and foot, captured limb movement.

All participants were tested first in bare feet, followed immediately by testing in their own shoesa comfortable pair typically used for walking. 20 of the participants were further tested wearing their own shoes and using a cane in the opposite hand to the study knee, after a brief instruction in ideal cane use by a physiotherapist. Data from 5 successful trials were collected for each test. A mean score was used to calculate changes in gait parameters and determine the peak knee adduction moment.

Overall, the peak knee adduction moment when walking in shoes was significantly higher7.4 percentthan when walking barefoot. The effect of footwear, however, varied considerably among individuals. While most demonstrated an increased knee adduction moment while wearing shoes, 6 of the 40 subjects actually demonstrated a beneficial decrease. The use of a cane resulted in a striking 10 percent average decrease in the knee adduction moment. Whats more, a quarter of the participants demonstrated a reduction of more than 20 percent. While individuals tended to walk more slowly with the cane than unaided, they exhibited greater stride length and improved pelvis control, alleviating the destructive load on the affected knee.

Though canes are widely recommended to knee OA patients, this study validates their therapeutic value, at least in the short-term. Further studies are required to establish whether knee loading remains lower with ongoing use of a cane, notes Dr. Hinman, and whether the reductions in loading translate to a reduced risk of disease progression. Additional studies should also focus on men with knee OA, since 90 percent of the participants in this cane tri
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Contact: Sean Wagner
swagner@wiley.com
781-388-8550
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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