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Rheumatol Int. 2012 Sep;32(9):2823-8. doi: 10.1007/s00296-011-2081-x. Epub 2011 Aug 30.

Anteroposterior and varus-valgus laxity of the knee increase after stair climbing in patients with mild osteoarthritis.

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Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of Fukui, Fukui, Japan.


The aim of this study was to measure exercise-induced changes in knee joint laxity in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA). The study subjects were 46 female patients with OA and 22 age- and sex-matched normal controls. Radiographs of the knee were taken in all subjects, and the disease severity was graded according to the Kellgren and Lawrence (K-L) grading system. The K-L grade of the control subjects (non-OA group) was 0-1. The OA patients were divided into those with mild OA (K-L grade 2, n = 20) and advanced OA (K-L grade 3-4, n = 26). The subject climbed up and down 8 steps on a staircase apparatus over a period of 10 min. The anteroposterior (A-P) translation was measured with KT2000 arthrometer, and varus-valgus (V-V) rotation was measured on stress radiographs before and after the stair climbing. The Δchange in A-P translation after the exercise was significantly larger in mild OA group than other groups (P < 0.005). The Δchange in V-V rotation after exercise was significantly larger in mild and advanced OA groups than the control (P < 0.003). There were no significant differences in A-P laxity and V-V laxity before exercise among the non-OA, mild OA and advanced OA groups. Exercise resulted in significant changes in A-P knee joint laxity in patients with mild OA relative to the control. The results suggest that daily physical activities (e.g., knee bending or squatting) play a role in the development of knee laxity, particularly in patients with mild OA, and that progression of knee OA seems to correlate with increments of A-P knee joint laxity.

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