The Biomechanical Effects of an Externally Applied Orthosis on Medial Compartment Knee Osteoarthritis
This thesis examined the immediate biomechanical effects of valgus unloader brace application in participants with moderate medial compartment knee osteoarthritis during gait. Thirty-three individuals were prescribed a valgus unloader brace. 3D knee moments and angles were calculated during walking with and without the brace. Principal Component Analysis identified amplitude and temporal changes of the moment and angle waveforms during gait. Three groups were identified based on the change in knee adduction moment magnitude with brace application. Two-Way ANOVA tested for differences among groups and conditions in principal component scores, as well as discrete varus thrust values. There existed three subgroups of participants identified by different gait adaptations to brace application. The brace had temporal and magnitude effects on 3D kinetics and kinematics for the participant group. This study showed that the brace does not provide a consistent change to knee joint mechanics. These results have implications for brace prescription.