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Gait Posture. 2010 Jun;32(2):155-60. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2010.04.002. Epub 2010 May 7.

On the role of knee joint in balance control and postural strategies: effects of total knee replacement in elderly subjects with knee osteoarthritis.

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Nancy-University, Henri Poincaré University, Balance Control and Motor Performance, UFR STAPS, Villers-lès-Nancy, France.


This study aimed to evaluate the role of the knee joint in the neurosensory organization of balance control and the generation of postural sensorimotor strategies. Ten patients, aged over 60 years and having undergone unilateral total knee replacement (TKR) for osteoarthritis, and 20 controls were submitted to static and dynamic posturographic tests and to a sensory organization test (SOT) aiming at evaluating postural control in quiet stance and during movement. The patients were submitted to these evaluations after the disappearance of pain (TKR(1)) and at the end of a 6-week rehabilitation program (TKR(2)). Balance control being greatly improved at TKR2 compared to TKR1, the patients attain a quality of postural regulation similar to that of the controls; some postural abnormalities did however persist for the static test. Moreover, SOT values at TKR(2) close to those of the controls highlighted an improvement in motor response, better management in altered proprioceptive information situations, and greater use of the ankle to control balance. This model of intervention on the knee joint, namely knee replacement due to osteoarthritis, has shown that gradual functional sensorimotor restoration after TKR, due to intrasensory proprioceptive compensation either at knee, or at other joint levels (hip/ankle), improves dynamic balance control. This reacquisition allows the knee joint to recover its corrective compensatory role in postural regulation allowing, through neuroplasticity, the modification of muscular activation sequences and, thus, the implementation of anticipatory sensorimotor strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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