Mechanical Engineering - Research Publications

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    The effects of a varus unloader brace for lateral tibiofemoral osteoarthritis and valgus malalignment after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: a single case study
    Hart, HF ; Ackland, DC ; Schache, AG ; Pandy, MG ; Collins, NJ ; Crossley, KM (JMNI, 2013-12-01)
    We investigated the immediate effects of a varus knee brace on knee symptoms and knee-joint biomechanics in an individual with predominant lateral tibiofemoral joint osteoarthritis (TFJOA) and valgus malalignment after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. A varus unloader brace was prescribed to a 48-year-old male with predominant lateral radiographic and symptomatic TFJOA and valgus malalignment eight-years following ACL reconstruction. During a step-down task, the participant rated knee pain, task-difficulty, knee-stability and knee-confidence on four separate visual analogue scales. Quantitative gait analysis was conducted during self-selected walking trials under three test conditions in a randomized order: (i) no brace; (ii) brace without frontal plane adjustment (no varus re-alignment); and (ii) brace with frontal plane adjustment (varus re-alignment). Post-processing of gait data involved calculation of knee kinematics and net joint moments for the reconstructed limb. The participant reported improved pain (3%), task difficulty (41%), stability (46%) and confidence (49%) when performing the step-down task with the brace. The varus brace resulted in immediate reductions in knee abduction angle (24%) and internal rotation angle (56%), and increased knee adduction moment (18%). These findings provide preliminary evidence for potentially beneficial effects of bracing on knee-symptoms and biomechanics in individuals with lateral TFJOA after reconstruction.