Making Strides in Knee OsteoarthritisKnee osteoarthritis (OA) often causes pain and loss of motion. Muscle weakness and changes in walking (gait) pattern occur. In this study, researchers report on the results of hyaluronate knee injections for OA. They look at two factors: changes in gait pattern, and loading on the joint from the ground up into the knee. This type of load is called joint ground reaction force (GRF).
Normal load through the knee joint can be altered by OA. Sometimes the load shifts to one side of the joint more than the other. This adds stress and further damages the cartilage in that part of the knee joint. Injections to restore the joint lubricating fluid may change both the gait pattern and the GRF.
Two groups of adult women were included in this study. The control group had healthy knees without any signs of OA. The second group had stage I or II OA. This group had changes in their gait patterns and GRF compared to the control group. Changes in GRF are a sign of abnormal joint loading.
The OA group received daily injections into both knees for five days. Gait pattern and GRFs improved after the injections. The changes were seen right away and lasted at least six months. The authors conclude that hyaluronate injections are a good treatment option for some patients. In general, the injections are safe, reduce pain, and sometimes improve function quickly.
Simon F. Tang, MD, et al. Changes in Sagittal Ground Reaction Forces after Intra-Articular Hyaluronate Injections for Knee Osteoarthritis. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. June 2004. Vol. 85. No. 6. Pp. 951-955.
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