Balance tests important for patients with knee osteoarthritis


WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) – For patients with knee osteoarthritis, objective tests of standing balance are important measures of neuromuscular performance, according to a report in the August issue of the Archives of Physical and Medical Rehabilitation.

Researchers examined degenerative changes, varus alignment, standing balance and knee proprioception in 20 patients with knee medial compartment osteoarthritis and no history of neurologic disease in order to evaluate neuromuscular and anatomic factors involved.

Dr. Trevor B. Birmingham, of the University of Western Ontario, Canada, and colleagues report that the extent of degenerative changes could be best predicted from varus alignment and standing balance. Specifically, varus alignment explained 37% of the variability and standing balance measures explained 27%. The other measures did not substantially influence the results.

The researchers add that measures of varus alignment and standing balance were poorly correlated, "suggesting that they contribute different information about gonarthrosis."

"The potential impact of rehabilitation efforts to improve the control of standing balance should be further evaluated in this patient population," Dr. Birmingham and colleagues conclude.

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