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Objectives: Knee bracing as a conservative treatment option for patients with medial knee osteoarthritis (KOA) is of great interest to health practitioners and patients alike. Optimal orthotic knee joint structure is essential to achieve biomechanical and clinical effectiveness. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the effects of a knee orthosis with a new two-degrees-of-freedom (DOF) joint design on selected gait parameters and in a sit-to-stand task in patients with mild-to-moderate medial KOA. Methods: This study was conducted both at the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinic in Shahid Modarres Academic Hospital and the Biomechanical Laboratory of Rehabilitation Faculty of Iran University of medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran from September 2015 to October 2017. The gait performance of 16 patients was assessed without an orthosis, using a common one-DOF (DOF) knee orthosis and using the same knee orthosis with a two-DOF orthotic joint design. The interactive shearing force between limb and brace in the shell area during a sit-to-stand test was also identified. Repeated measures analysis of variance was used to analyse the data. Results: Compared with walking with no orthosis, both orthosis conditions reduced the external knee adduction moment significantly (P ≤0.05). A significant increase between the one-DOF and two-DOF conditions in terms of walking speed (P = 0.041 and P = 0.009, respectively) and stride length (P = 0.028 and P = 0.038, respectively) was observed. In a sit-to-stand test, wearing the orthosis significantly decreased knee transverse plane range of motion (P ≤0.05). There was a 41.31 ± 8.34 Newtons reduction in knee flexion constraint force. Conclusion: The two-DOF knee orthosis was more comfortable compared to the one-DOF knee orthosis during deep knee flexion. Otherwise, the one- DOF- and two-DOF-braces performed similarly.
Keywords: Knee Osteoarthritis; Orthosis; Braces; Gait Analysis; Rotations; Kinematics; Kinetics; Patient Comfort.
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