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Title: Functional Evaluation of a Personalized Orthosis for Knee Osteoarthritis: A Motion Capture Analysis
Abstract Orthotic treatments for knee osteoarthritis (OA) typically rely on simple mechanisms such as three-point bending straps and single-pin hinges. These commonly prescribed braces cannot treat bicompartmental knee OA, do not consider the muscle weakness that typically accompanies the condition, and employ hinges that restrict the knee's natural biomechanics. Utilizing a novel, personalized joint mechanism in conjunction with magnetorheological dampers, we have developed and evaluated a brace which attempts to address these shortcomings. This process has respected three principal design goals: reducing the load experienced across the entire knee joint, generating a supportive moment to aid the thigh muscles in shock absorption, and interfering minimally with gait kinematics. Two healthy volunteers were chosen to test the system's basic functionality through gait analysis in a motion capture laboratory. Combining the collected kinematic and force-plate data with data taken from sensors onboard the brace, we integrated the brace and leg system into a single inverse dynamics analysis, from which we were able to evaluate the effect of the brace design on the subjects' knee loads and moments. Of the three design goals: a reduction in knee contact forces was demonstrated; increased shock absorption was observed, but not to statistical significance; and natural more » gait was largely preserved. Taken in total, the outcome of this study supports additional investigation into the system's clinical effectiveness, and suggests that further refinement of the techniques presented in this paper could open the doors to more effective OA treatment through patient specific braces. « less
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Journal Name:
Journal of Medical Devices
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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    Quadriceps weakness is common after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction and can alter gait mechanics. Functional resistance training (FRT) is a novel approach to retraining strength after injury, but it is unclear how it alters gait mechanics. Therefore, we tested how 3 different types of FRT devices: a knee brace resisting extension (unidirectional brace), a knee brace resisting extension and flexion (bidirectional brace), and an elastic band pulling backwards on the ankle (elastic band)–acutely alter gait kinetics in this population.


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    Study Design:

    Crossover study.

    Level of Evidence:

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    FRT after ACL reconstruction can acutely alter gait kinetics during training. Devices can be applied to selectively alter gait kinetics. However, the long-term effects of FRT after ACL reconstruction with these devices are still unknown.

    Clinical Relevance:

    FRT may be applied to alter gait kinetics of the involved limb after ACL reconstruction, depending on the device used.

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