Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

ISSN 2055-2386
Original Research

Associations Between Stair Climb Performance, Ultrasound Measured Muscle Thickness of the Lower Limbs and Self-Reported Pain and Function in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis

Jenieve Guevarra1, Rachel Welbel2 and Alfred C. Gellhorn3*

*Correspondence: Alfred C. Gellhorn

1. Rutgers New Jersey Medical School - Newark, New Jersey.

Author Affiliations

2,3. Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Department of Sports Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine– New York City, NY.


Background: Knee osteoarthritis (OA) commonly limits stair climbing. This study aimed to determine if self-reported pain and function and biomechanics during stair climbing were associated with ultrasound measured lower limb muscle thickness and isometric strength testing.

Methods: Twenty-three patients with unilateral symptomatic knee OA were recruited from a musculoskeletal physiatry clinic. Patients answered the WOMAC questionnaire and Lower Extremity Activity Scale to assess subjective pain, stiffness, function, and daily physical activity. Patients thenperformed a stair climb test. Ultrasound measurements of the quadriceps, hip abductors, adductors, and ankle plantarflexors were obtained. Isometric muscle strength was assessed with a hand-held dynamometer. Data analysis utilized Pearson correlations.

Results: Slower stair climb is associated with higher pain levels (r=0.75) and functional deficits (r=0.69). Ultrasound measured ankle plantarflexor thickness correlates with faster stair descent (r=0.64). Stair climb ascent speed is negatively correlated with muscle strength of the hip adductors (r=-0.55) and abductors (r=- 0.55).

Conclusions: Stair climb speed is associated with self-reported pain and function. Ankle plantarflexors, hip adductor and abductor muscles should be explored as clinical targets for knee OA therapy.

Keywords: Knee osteoarthritis, ultrasound, WOMAC, stair clim

ISSN 2055-2386
Volume 6
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