Disturbed Joint Sense: Cause or Consequence of Knee Osteoarthritis?Osteoarthritis. Proprioception. Arthroplasty. What do these have in common? They all make a difference in how the knee moves and functions. This study from the Anderson Orthopaedic Research Institute in Virginia takes a closer look.
Proprioception tells the knee where and how it's moving. It's the ability to sense joint position. It tells us about any changes in the position of the joint. Patients with osteoarthritis have poorer proprioception than those without arthritis. The worse the symptoms, the worse the proprioception.
But what if only half the joint needs to be replaced (called unicondylar arthroplasty)? Is proprioception better in joints with less severe arthritis?
According to this study, age is the biggest factor in proprioception, not severity of disease. Younger patients tend to respond sooner to changes in joint position. Men have a slower response time when straightening the knee compared to bending it.
Scientists don't know if the loss of proprioception causes knee osteoarthritis (OA). Maybe it's the other way around, and OA causes changes in joint position sense. Finding out more about proprioception may help doctors find the best treatment for patients with knee OA.
Matthew B. Collier, MS, et al. Proprioceptive Deficits are Comparable before Unicondylar and Total Knee Arthroplasties, But Greater in the More Symptomatic Knee of the Patient. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. June 2004. Vol. 423. Pp. 138-143.
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