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1.  Effects of neuromuscular training (NEMEX-TJR) on patient-reported outcomes and physical function in severe primary hip or knee osteoarthritis: a controlled before-and-after study 
Background
The benefits of exercise in mild and moderate knee or hip osteoarthritis (OA) are apparent, but the evidence in severe OA is less clear. We recently reported that neuromuscular training was well tolerated and feasible in patients with severe primary hip or knee OA. The aims of this controlled before-and-after study were to compare baseline status to an age-matched population-based reference group and to examine the effects of neuromuscular training on patient-reported outcomes and physical function in patients with severe primary OA of the hip or knee.
Methods
87 patients (60–77 years) with severe primary OA of the hip (n = 38, 55% women) or knee (n = 49, 59% women) awaiting total joint replacement (TJR) had supervised, neuromuscular training (NEMEX-TJR) in groups with individualized level and progression of training. A reference group (n = 43, 53% women) was included for comparison with patients’ data. Assessments included self-reported outcomes (HOOS/KOOS) and measures of physical function (chair stands, number of knee bends/30 sec, knee extensor strength, 20-meter walk test) at baseline and at follow-up before TJR. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used for comparing patients and references and elucidating influence of demographic factors on change. The paired t-test was used for comparisons within groups.
Results
At baseline, patients reported worse scores than the references in all HOOS/KOOS subscales (hip 27–47%, knee 14–52%, of reference scores, respectively) and had functional limitations (hip 72–85%, knee 42–85%, of references scores, respectively). NEMEX-TJR (mean 12 weeks (SD 5.6) of training) improved self-reported outcomes (hip 9–29%, knee 7–20%) and physical function (hip 3–18%, knee 5–19%) (p < 0.005). Between 42% and 62% of hip OA patients, and 39% and 61% of knee OA patients, displayed a clinically meaningful improvement (≥15%) in HOOS/KOOS subscales by training. The improvement in HOOS/KOOS subscale ADL was greater for patients with knee OA than hip OA, while the improvement in subscale Sport/Rec was greater for patients with hip OA than knee OA.
Conclusions
Both self-reported outcomes and physical function were clearly worse compared with the reference group. Neuromuscular training with an individualized approach and gradual progression showed promise for improving patient-reported outcomes and physical function even in older patients with severe primary OA of the hip or knee.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-232
PMCID: PMC3750589  PMID: 23924144
Osteoarthritis; Arthroplasty; Exercise therapy; Patient-reported outcomes; Performance-based measures
2.  Care-seeking behaviour of adolescents with knee pain: a population-based study among 504 adolescents 
Background
Knee pain is common during adolescence. Adolescents and their parents may think that knee pain is benign and self-limiting and therefore avoid seeking medical care. However, long-term prognosis of knee pain is not favourable and treatment seems to offer greater reductions in pain compared to a “wait-and-see” approach. The purpose of this study was to describe the determinants of care-seeking behaviour among adolescents with current knee pain and investigate what types of treatment are initiated.
Methods
An online questionnaire was forwarded to 2,846 adolescents aged 15–19 in four upper secondary schools. The questionnaire contained questions on age, gender, height, weight, currently painful body regions, frequency of knee pain, health-related quality of life measured by the EuroQol 5-dimensions, sports participation and if they had sought medical care. Adolescents who reported current knee pain at least monthly or more frequently were telephoned. The adolescents were asked about pain duration, onset of knee pain (traumatic or insidious) and if they were currently being treated for their knee pain.
Results
504 adolescents currently reported at least monthly knee pain. 59% of these had sought medical care and 18% were currently under medical treatment . A longer pain duration and higher pain severity increased the odds of seeking medical care. Females with traumatic onset of knee pain were more likely to have sought medical care than females with insidious onset of knee pain. Females with traumatic onset of knee pain and increased pain severity were more likely to be undergoing medical treatment. The most frequently reported treatments were the combination of exercises and orthotics (68% of those undergoing medical treatment).
Conclusion
Females with insidious onset of knee pain do not seek medical care as often as those with traumatic onset and adolescents of both genders with insidious onset are less likely to be under medical treatment. These findings are important as knee pain with insidious onset has similar consequences as knee pain with traumatic onset regarding pain severity, pain duration and reductions in health-related quality of life.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-225
PMCID: PMC3729825  PMID: 23899043
Adolescents; Knee pain; Care-seeking; Treatment
3.  Effect of pre-operative neuromuscular training on functional outcome after total knee replacement: a randomized-controlled trial 
Background
Total Knee Replacement (TKR) is the standard treatment for patients with severe knee osteoarthritis (OA). Significant improvement in pain and function are seen after TKR and approximately 80% of patients are very satisfied with the outcome. Functional status prior to TKR is a major predictor of outcome after the intervention. Thus, improving functional status prior to surgery through exercise may improve after surgery outcome. However, results from several previous trials testing the concept have been inconclusive after surgery.
Methods/design
In a randomized controlled trial (RCT) we will test the effect of a pre-operative neuromuscular trainingprogram versus an attention control program on lower extremity function – before and after surgery. We will enroll 80 participants, aged between 55–90 years, who are scheduled for TKR. In this single-blinded RCT, the intervention group will receive a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 24 training sessions plus 3 educational sessions of the knee school. The control group will receive the 3 educational sessions only. Assessments are performed immediately before and after the intervention (before surgery), at 6 weeks, 3 months and 12 months (after surgery).
The primary outcome will include the Chair Stand Test as a measure of leg strength and reaction time. Secondary outcomes are knee function and pain assessed with the self-reported Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS). All measurements will be carried out by a specially trained physical therapist, blinded to group allocation.
Discussion
To our knowledge this is the first single-blinded RCT to test the effect of pre-operative neuromuscular training plus knee school against knee school alone – on knee function and pain, assessed immediately after the interventions prior to surgery and repeatedly after surgery.
Trial registration
Clinical Trials NCT00913575
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-157
PMCID: PMC3651334  PMID: 23641782
4.  Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy in middle-aged patients with mild or no knee osteoarthritis: a protocol for a double-blind, randomized sham-controlled multi-centre trial 
Background
Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy has been shown to be of no benefit to patients with concomitant knee osteoarthritis, but the optimal treatment of a degenerative meniscus tear in patients with mild or no knee osteoarthritis is unknown. This article describes the rationale and methodology of a randomized sham-controlled trial to assess the benefit of arthroscopic partial meniscectomy of a medial meniscus tear in patients with mild or no knee osteoarthritis. The objective of the study is to test whether the benefit from arthroscopic partial meniscectomy in patients with knee pain, medial meniscus lesion and mild/no knee osteoarthritis, is greater after arthroscopic partial meniscectomy than following sham surgery.
Methods
We will conduct a randomized controlled trial of treatment for degenerative meniscus tears in middle-aged patients (aged 35–55 years) with an MRI-verified medial meniscus lesion and mild or no knee radiographic osteoarthritis (grade 0–2 on the Kellgren & Lawrence scale). Patients will be randomized to receive either conventional arthroscopic partial meniscectomy or a sham surgery procedure. The primary outcome will be the KOOS5 derived from the ‘Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score’ at 2 years follow-up. Secondary outcomes at 2 years will include all five individual subscales of the KOOS, a global perceived effect score, the Short-Form-36 health status score, EQ-5D for economic appraisal and objective tests of muscle strength and physical function. Radiographic knee osteoarthritis will be evaluated at 5 years.
Discussion
Demonstration of no additional benefit from arthroscopic partial meniscectomy on pain and function should lead to a change in clinical care of patients with a degenerative meniscus tear. The results of this study will provide empirical evidence for the potential benefit/harm of arthroscopic partial meniscectomy compared to a masked sham-therapeutics intervention.
Trial registration
NCT01264991
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-71
PMCID: PMC3599063  PMID: 23442554
5.  The effect of education and supervised exercise vs. education alone on the time to total hip replacement in patients with severe hip osteoarthritis. A randomized clinical trial protocol 
Background
The age- and gender-specific incidence of total hip replacement surgery has increased over the last two decades in all age groups. Recent studies indicate that non-surgical interventions are effective in reducing pain and disability, even at later stages of the disease when joint replacement is considered. We hypothesize that the time to hip replacement can be postponed in patients with severe hip osteoarthritis following participation in a patient education and supervised exercise program when compared to patients receiving patient education alone.
Methods/design
A prospective, blinded, parallel-group multi-center trial (2 sites), with balanced randomization [1:1]. Patients with hip osteoarthritis and an indication for hip replacement surgery, aged 40 years and above, will be consecutively recruited and randomized into two treatment groups. The active treatment group will receive 3 months of supervised exercise consisting of 12 sessions of individualized, goal-based neuromuscular training, and 12 sessions of intensive resistance training plus patient education (3 sessions). The control group will receive only patient education (3 sessions). The primary end-point for assessing the effectiveness of the intervention is 12 months after baseline. However, follow-ups will also be performed once a year for at least 5 years. The primary outcome measure is the time to hip replacement surgery measured on a Kaplain-Meier survival curve from time of inclusion. Secondary outcome measures are the five subscales of the Hip disability and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score, physical activity level (UCLA activity score), and patient’s global perceived effect. Other measures include pain after exercise, joint-specific adverse events, exercise adherence, general health status (EQ-5D-5L), mechanical muscle strength and performance in physical tests. A cost-effectiveness analysis will also be performed.
Discussion
To our knowledge, this is the first randomized clinical trial comparing a patient education plus supervised exercise program to patient education alone in hip osteoarthritis patients with an indication for surgery on the time to total hip replacement.
Trial registration
NCT01697241
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-21
PMCID: PMC3561107  PMID: 23311889
Exercise therapy; Education; Osteoarthritis; Hip; Hip replacement
6.  The effects of neuromuscular exercise on medial knee joint load post-arthroscopic partial medial meniscectomy: ‘SCOPEX’ a randomised control trial protocol 
Background
Meniscectomy is a risk factor for knee osteoarthritis, with increased medial joint loading a likely contributor to the development and progression of knee osteoarthritis in this group. Therefore, post-surgical rehabilitation or interventions that reduce medial knee joint loading have the potential to reduce the risk of developing or progressing osteoarthritis. The primary purpose of this randomised, assessor-blind controlled trial is to determine the effects of a home-based, physiotherapist-supervised neuromuscular exercise program on medial knee joint load during functional tasks in people who have recently undergone a partial medial meniscectomy.
Methods/design
62 people aged 30–50 years who have undergone an arthroscopic partial medial meniscectomy within the previous 3 to 12 months will be recruited and randomly assigned to a neuromuscular exercise or control group using concealed allocation. The neuromuscular exercise group will attend 8 supervised exercise sessions with a physiotherapist and will perform 6 exercises at home, at least 3 times per week for 12 weeks. The control group will not receive the neuromuscular training program. Blinded assessment will be performed at baseline and immediately following the 12-week intervention. The primary outcomes are change in the peak external knee adduction moment measured by 3-dimensional analysis during normal paced walking and one-leg rise. Secondary outcomes include the change in peak external knee adduction moment during fast pace walking and one-leg hop and change in the knee adduction moment impulse during walking, one-leg rise and one-leg hop, knee and hip muscle strength, electromyographic muscle activation patterns, objective measures of physical function, as well as self-reported measures of physical function and symptoms and additional biomechanical parameters.
Discussion
The findings from this trial will provide evidence regarding the effect of a home-based, physiotherapist-supervised neuromuscular exercise program on medial knee joint load during various tasks in people with a partial medial meniscectomy. If shown to reduce the knee adduction moment, neuromuscular exercise has the potential to prevent the onset of osteoarthritis or slow its progression in those with early disease.
Trial Registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry reference: ACTRN12612000542897
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-233
PMCID: PMC3529104  PMID: 23181415
7.  Effect of leisure time physical activity on severe knee or hip osteoarthritis leading to total joint replacement: a population-based prospective cohort study 
Background
Studies on leisure time physical activity as risk factor or protective factor for knee or hip osteoarthritis (OA) show divergent results. Longitudinal prospective studies are needed to clarify the association of physical activity with future OA. The aim was to explore in a prospective population-based cohort study the influence of leisure time physical activity on severe knee or hip OA, defined as knee or hip replacement due to OA.
Methods
Leisure time physical activity was reported by 28320 participants (mean age 58 years (SD 7.6), 60% women) at baseline. An overall leisure time physical activity score, taking both duration and intensity of physical activities into account, was created. The most commonly reported activities were also used for analysis. The incidence of knee or hip replacement due to OA over 11 years was monitored by linkage with the Swedish hospital discharge register. Cox’s proportional hazards model (crude and adjusted for potential confounding factors) was used to assess the incidence of total joint replacement, or osteotomy (knee), in separate analyses of leisure time physical activity.
Results
There was no significant overall association between leisure time physical activity and risk for knee or hip replacement due to OA over the 11-year observation time. For women only, the adjusted RR (95% CI) for hip replacement was 0.66 (0.48, 0.89) (fourth vs. first quartile), indicating a lower risk of hip replacement in those with the highest compared with the lowest physical activity. The most commonly reported activities were walking, bicycling, using stairs, and gardening. Walking was associated with a lower risk of hip replacement (adjusted RR 0.76 (95% CI 0.61, 0.94), specifically for women (adjusted RR 0.75 (95% CI 0.57, 0.98)).
Conclusions
In this population-based study of middle-aged men and women, leisure time physical activity showed no consistent overall relationship with incidence of severe knee or hip OA, defined as joint replacement due to OA, over 11 years. For women, higher leisure time physical activity may have a protective role for the incidence of hip replacement. Walking may have a protective role for hip replacement, specifically for women.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-73
PMCID: PMC3462680  PMID: 22595023
Osteoarthritis; Arthroplasty; Exercise; Workload; Risk factors
8.  Principles of brain plasticity in improving sensorimotor function of the knee and leg in patients with anterior cruciate ligament injury: a double-blind randomized exploratory trial 
Background
Severe traumatic knee injury, including injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), leads to impaired sensorimotor function. Although improvements are achieved by training, impairment often persists. Because good sensorimotor function is associated with better patient-reported function and a potential lower risk of future joint problems, more effective treatment is warranted. Temporary cutaneous anesthesia of adjacent body parts was successfully used on the hand and foot to improve sensorimotor function. The aim of this study was to test whether this principle of brain plasticity could be used on the knee. The hypothesis was that temporary anesthesia of the skin area above and below the knee would improve sensorimotor function of the ipsilateral knee and leg in subjects with ACL injury.
Methods
In this double-blind exploratory study, 39 subjects with ACL injury (mean age 24 years, SD 5.2, 49% women, mean 52 weeks after injury or reconstruction) and self-reported functional limitations and lack of trust in the knee were randomized to temporary local cutaneous application of anesthetic (EMLA®) (n = 20) or placebo cream (n = 19). Fifty grams of EMLA®, or placebo, was applied on the leg 10 cm above and 10 cm below the center of patella, leaving the area around the knee without cream. Measures of sensory function (perception of touch, vibration sense, knee kinesthesia) and motor function (knee muscle strength, hop test) were assessed before and after 90 minutes of treatment with EMLA® or placebo. The paired t-test was used for comparisons within groups and analysis of variance between groups, except for ordinal data where the Wilcoxon signed rank test, or Mann–Whitney test, was used. The number of subjects needed was determined by an a priori sample size calculation.
Results
No statistically significant or clinically relevant differences were seen over time (before vs. after) in the measures of sensory or motor functions in the EMLA® group or in the placebo group. There were no differences between the groups due to treatment effect (EMLA® vs. placebo).
Conclusions
Temporary cutaneous anesthesia of adjacent body parts had no effect in improving sensorimotor function of the knee and leg in subjects with severe traumatic knee ligament injury.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-68
PMCID: PMC3441769  PMID: 22574814
9.  Total knee replacement plus physical and medical therapy or treatment with physical and medical therapy alone: a randomised controlled trial in patients with knee osteoarthritis (the MEDIC-study) 
Background
There is a lack of high quality evidence concerning the efficacy of total knee arthroplasty (TKA). According to international evidence-based guidelines, treatment of knee osteoarthritis (KOA) should include patient education, exercise and weight loss. Insoles and pharmacological treatment can be included as supplementary treatments. If the combination of these non-surgical treatment modalities is ineffective, TKA may be indicated. The purpose of this randomised controlled trial is to examine whether TKA provides further improvement in pain, function and quality of life in addition to optimised non-surgical treatment in patients with KOA defined as definite radiographic OA and up to moderate pain.
Methods/Design
The study will be conducted in The North Denmark Region. 100 participants with radiographic KOA (K-L grade ≥2) and mean pain during the previous week of ≤ 60 mm (0–100, best to worst scale) who are considered eligible for TKA by an orthopaedic surgeon will be included. The treatment will consist of 12 weeks of optimised non-surgical treatment consisting of patient education, exercise, diet, insoles, analgesics and/or NSAIDs. Patients will be randomised to either receiving or not receiving a TKA in addition to the optimised non-surgical treatment. The primary outcome will be the change from baseline to 12 months on the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS)4 defined as the average score for the subscale scores for pain, symptoms, activities of daily living, and quality of life. Secondary outcomes include the five individual KOOS subscale scores, EQ-5D, pain on a 100 mm Visual Analogue Scale, self-efficacy, pain pressure thresholds, and isometric knee flexion and knee extension strength.
Discussion
This is the first randomised controlled trial to investigate the efficacy of TKA as an adjunct treatment to optimised non-surgical treatment in patients with KOA. The results will significantly contribute to evidence-based recommendations for the treatment of patients with KOA.
Trial registration
Clinicaltrials.gov reference: NCT01410409
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-67
PMCID: PMC3461437  PMID: 22571284
10.  Early intervention for adolescents with Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome - a pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial 
Background
Self-reported knee pain is highly prevalent among adolescents. As much as 50% of the non-specific knee pain may be attributed to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS). In the short term, exercise therapy appears to have a better effect than patient education consisting of written information and general advice on exercise or compared with placebo treatment. But the long-term effect of exercise therapy compared with patient education is conflicting. The purpose of this study is to examine the short- and long-term effectiveness of patient education compared with patient education and multimodal physiotherapy applied at a very early stage of the condition among adolescents.
Methods/Design
This study is a single blind pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial. Four upper secondary schools have been invited to participate in the study (approximately 2500 students, aged 15-19 years). Students are asked to answer an online questionnaire regarding musculoskeletal pain. The students who report knee pain are contacted by telephone and offered a clinical examination by a rheumatologist. Subjects who fit the inclusion criteria and are diagnosed with PFPS are invited to participate in the study. A minimum of 102 students with PFPS are then cluster-randomised into two intervention groups based on which school they attend. Both intervention groups receive written information and education. In addition to patient education, one group receives multimodal physiotherapy consisting primarily of neuromuscular training of the muscles around the foot, knee and hip and home exercises.
The students with PFPS fill out self-reported questionnaires at baseline, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months after inclusion in the study. The primary outcome measure is perception of recovery measured on a 7-point Likert scale ranging from "completely recovered" to "worse than ever" at 12 months.
Discussion
This study is designed to investigate the effectiveness of patient education compared with patient education combined with multimodal physiotherapy. If patient education and multimodal physiotherapy applied at an early stage of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome proves effective, it may serve as a basis for optimising the clinical pathway for those suffering from the condition, where specific emphasis can be placed on early diagnosis and early treatment.
Trial Registration
clinicaltrials.gov reference: NCT01438762
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-9
PMCID: PMC3328242  PMID: 22280484
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome; Anterior Knee Pain; Physiotherapy; Adolescents
11.  Comparison of neuromuscular and quadriceps strengthening exercise in the treatment of varus malaligned knees with medial knee osteoarthritis: a randomised controlled trial protocol 
Background
Osteoarthritis of the knee involving predominantly the medial tibiofemoral compartment is common in older people, giving rise to pain and loss of function. Many people experience progressive worsening of the disease over time, particularly those with varus malalignment and increased medial knee joint load. Therefore, interventions that can reduce excessive medial knee loading may be beneficial in reducing the risk of structural progression. Traditional quadriceps strengthening can improve pain and function in people with knee osteoarthritis but does not appear to reduce medial knee load. A neuromuscular exercise program, emphasising optimal alignment of the trunk and lower limb joints relative to one another, as well as quality of movement performance, while dynamically and functionally strengthening the lower limb muscles, may be able to reduce medial knee load. Such a program may also be superior to traditional quadriceps strengthening with respect to improved pain and physical function because of the functional and dynamic nature. This randomised controlled trial will investigate the effect of a neuromuscular exercise program on medial knee joint loading, pain and function in individuals with medial knee joint osteoarthritis. We hypothesise that the neuromuscular program will reduce medial knee load as well as pain and functional limitations to a greater extent than a traditional quadriceps strengthening program.
Methods/Design
100 people with medial knee pain, radiographic medial compartment osteoarthritis and varus malalignment will be recruited and randomly allocated to one of two 12-week exercise programs: quadriceps strengthening or neuromuscular exercise. Each program will involve 14 supervised exercise sessions with a physiotherapist plus four unsupervised sessions per week at home. The primary outcomes are medial knee load during walking (the peak external knee adduction moment from 3D gait analysis), pain, and self-reported physical function measured at baseline and immediately following the program. Secondary outcomes include the external knee adduction moment angular impulse, electromyographic muscle activation patterns, knee and hip muscle strength, balance, functional ability, and quality-of-life.
Discussion
The findings will help determine whether neuromuscular exercise is superior to traditional quadriceps strengthening regarding effects on knee load, pain and physical function in people with medial knee osteoarthritis and varus malalignment.
Trial Registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry reference: ACTRN12610000660088
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-12-276
PMCID: PMC3247187  PMID: 22141334
12.  Non-surgical treatment of hip osteoarthritis. Hip school, with or without the addition of manual therapy, in comparison to a minimal control intervention: Protocol for a three-armed randomized clinical trial 
Background
Hip osteoarthritis is a common and chronic condition resulting in pain, functional disability and reduced quality of life. In the early stages of the disease, a combination of non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatment is recommended. There is evidence from several trials that exercise therapy is effective. In addition, single trials suggest that patient education in the form of a hip school is a promising intervention and that manual therapy is superior to exercise.
Methods/Design
This is a randomized clinical trial. Patients with clinical and radiological hip osteoarthritis, 40-80 years of age, and without indication for hip surgery were randomized into 3 groups. The active intervention groups A and B received six weeks of hip school, taught by a physiotherapist, for a total of 5 sessions. In addition, group B received manual therapy consisting of joint manipulation and soft-tissue therapy twice a week for six weeks. Group C received a self-care information leaflet containing advice on "live as usual" and stretching exercises from the hip school. The primary time point for assessing relative effectiveness is at the end of the six weeks intervention period with follow-ups after three and 12 months.
Primary outcome measure is pain measured on an eleven-point numeric rating scale. Secondary outcome measures are the hip dysfunction and osteoarthritis outcome score, patient's global perceived effect, patient specific functional scale, general quality of life and hip range of motion.
Discussion
To our knowledge this is the first randomized clinical trial comparing a patient education program with or without the addition of manual therapy to a minimal intervention for patients with hip osteoarthritis.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials NCT01039337
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-12-88
PMCID: PMC3112433  PMID: 21542914
13.  Validity and inter-rater reliability of medio-lateral knee motion observed during a single-limb mini squat 
Background
Muscle function may influence the risk of knee injury and outcomes following injury. Clinical tests, such as a single-limb mini squat, resemble conditions of daily life and are easy to administer. Fewer squats per 30 seconds indicate poorer function. However, the quality of movement, such as the medio-lateral knee motion may also be important. The aim was to validate an observational clinical test of assessing the medio-lateral knee motion, using a three-dimensional (3-D) motion analysis system. In addition, the inter-rater reliability was evaluated.
Methods
Twenty-five (17 women) non-injured participants (mean age 25.6 years, range 18-37) were included. Visual analysis of the medio-lateral knee motion, scored as knee-over-foot or knee-medial-to-foot by two raters, and 3-D kinematic data were collected simultaneously during a single-limb mini squat. Frontal plane 2-D peak tibial, thigh, and knee varus-valgus angles, and 3-D peak hip internal-external rotation, and knee varus-valgus angles were calculated.
Results
Ten subjects were scored as having a knee-medial-to-foot position and 15 subjects a knee-over-foot position assessed by visual inspection. In 2-D, the peak tibial angle (mean 89.0 (SE 0.7) vs mean 86.3 (SE 0.4) degrees, p = 0.001) and peak thigh angle (mean 77.4 (SE 1.0) vs mean 81.2 (SE 0.5) degrees, p = 0.001) with respect to the horizontal, indicated that the knee was more medially placed than the ankle and thigh, respectively. Thus, the knee was in more valgus (mean 11.6 (SE 1.5) vs 5.0 (SE 0.8) degrees, p < 0.001) in subjects with the knee-medial-to-foot than in those with a knee-over-foot position. In 3-D, the hip was more internally rotated in those with a knee-medial-to-foot than in those with a knee-over-foot position (mean 10.6 (SE 2.1) vs 4.8 (SE 1.8) degrees, p = 0.049), but there was no difference in knee valgus (mean 6.1 (SE 1.8) vs mean 5.0 (SE 1.2) degrees, p = 0.589). The kappa value and percent agreement, respectively, was >0.90 and 96 between raters.
Conclusions
Medio-lateral motion of the knee can reliably be assessed during a single-leg mini-squat. The test is valid in 2-D, while the actual movement, in 3-D, is mainly exhibited as increased internal hip rotation. The single-limb mini squat is feasible and easy to administer in the clinical setting and in research to address lower extremity movement quality.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-265
PMCID: PMC2998461  PMID: 21080945
14.  Relationships between postural orientation and self reported function, hop performance and muscle power in subjects with anterior cruciate ligament injury 
Background
Injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is associated not only with knee instability and impaired neuromuscular control, but also with altered postural orientation manifested as observable "substitution patterns". However, tests currently used to evaluate knee function in subjects with ACL injury are not designed to assess postural orientation. Therefore, we are in the process of developing an observational test set that measures postural orientation in terms of the ability to stabilize body segments in relation to each other and to the environment. The aim of the present study was to characterise correlations between this novel test set, called the Test for Substitution Patterns (TSP) and commonly used tests of knee function.
Methods
In a blinded set-up, 53 subjects (mean age 30 years, range 20-39, with 2-5 years since ACL injury) were assessed using the TSP, the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score subscale sport/recreation (KOOS sport/rec), 3 hop tests and 3 muscle power tests. Correlations between the scores of the TSP and the other tests were determined.
Results
Moderate correlations were found between TSP scores and KOOS sport/rec (rs = -0.43; p = 0.001) and between TSP scores and hop test results (rs = -0.40 to -0.46; p ≤ 0.003), indicating that altered postural orientation was associated with worse self-reported KOOS sport/rec function and worse hop performance. No significant correlations were found between TSP scores and muscle power results. Subjects had higher TSP scores on their injured side than on their uninjured side (median 4 and 1 points; interquartile range 2-6 and 0-1.5, respectively; p < 0.0001).
Conclusions
We conclude that the Test for Substitution Patterns is of relevance to the patient and measures a specific aspect of neuromuscular control not quantified by the other tests investigated. We suggest that the TSP may be a valuable complement in the assessment of neuromuscular control in the rehabilitation of subjects with ACL injury.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-143
PMCID: PMC2908077  PMID: 20594339
15.  Feasibility of neuromuscular training in patients with severe hip or knee OA: The individualized goal-based NEMEX-TJR training program 
Background
Although improvements are achieved by general exercise, training to improve sensorimotor control may be needed for people with osteoarthritis (OA). The aim was to apply the principles of neuromuscular training, which have been successfully used in younger and middle-aged patients with knee injuries, to older patients with severe hip or knee OA. We hypothesized that the training program was feasible, determined as: 1) at most acceptable self-reported pain following training; 2) decreased or unchanged pain during the training period; 3) few joint specific adverse events related to training, and 4) achieved progression of training level during the training period.
Methods
Seventy-six patients, between 60 and 77 years, with severe hip (n = 38, 55% women) or knee OA (n = 38, 61% women) underwent an individualized, goal-based neuromuscular training program (NEMEX-TJR) in groups for a median of 11 weeks (quartiles 7 to 15) prior to total joint replacement (TJR). Pain was self-reported immediately after each training session on a 0 to 10 cm, no pain to pain as bad as it could be, scale, where 0-2 indicates safe, > 2 to 5 acceptable and > 5 high risk pain. Joint specific adverse events were: not attending or ceasing training because of increased pain/problems in the index joint related to training, and self-reported pain > 5 after training. The level of difficulty of training was registered.
Results
Patients with severe OA of the hip or knee reported safe pain (median 2 cm) after training. Self-reported pain was lower at training sessions 10 and 20 (p = 0.04) and unchanged at training sessions 5 and 15 (p = 0.170, p = 0.161) compared with training session 1. There were no joint specific adverse events in terms of not attending or ceasing training. Few patients (n = 17, 22%) reported adverse events in terms of self-reported pain > 5 after one or more training sessions. Progression of training level was achieved over time (p < 0.001).
Conclusions
The NEMEX-TJR training program is feasible in patients with severe hip or knee OA, in terms of safe self-reported pain following training, decreased or unchanged pain during the training period, few joint specific adverse events, and achieved progression of training level during the training period.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-126
PMCID: PMC2896351  PMID: 20565735
16.  Association between knee alignment and knee pain in patients surgically treated for medial knee osteoarthritis by high tibial osteotomy. A one year follow-up study 
Background
The association between knee alignment and knee pain in knee osteoarthritis (OA) is unclear. High tibial osteotomy, a treatment option in knee OA, alters load from the affected to the unaffected compartment of the knee by correcting malalignment. This surgical procedure thus offers the possibility to study the cross-sectional and longitudinal association of alignment to pain. The aims were to study 1) the preoperative association of knee alignment to preoperative knee pain and 2) the association of change in knee alignment with surgery to change in knee pain over time in patients operated on for knee OA by high tibial osteotomy.
Methods
182 patients (68% men) mean age 53 years (34 - 69) with varus alignment having tibial osteotomy by the hemicallotasis technique for medial knee OA were consecutively included. Knee alignment was assessed by the Hip-Knee-Ankle (HKA) angle from radiographs including the hip and ankle joints. Knee pain was measured by the subscale pain (0 - 100, worst to best scale) of the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) preoperatively and at one year follow-up. To estimate the association between knee alignment and knee pain multivariate regression analyses were used.
Results
Mean preoperative varus alignment was 170 degrees (153 - 178) and mean preoperative KOOS pain was 42 points (3 - 86). There was no association between preoperative varus alignment and preoperative KOOS pain, crude analysis 0.02 points (95% CI -0.6 - 0.7) change in pain with every degree of HKA angle, adjusted analysis 0.3 points (95% CI -1.3 - 0.6).
The mean postoperative knee alignment was 184 degrees (171 - 185). The mean change in knee alignment was 13 degrees (0 - 30). The mean change in KOOS pain was 32 (-16 - 83). There was neither any association between change in knee alignment and change in KOOS pain over time, crude analysis 0.3 point (95% CI -0.6 - 1.2), adjusted analysis 0.4 points (95% CI 0.6 - 1.4).
Conclusion
We found no association between knee alignment and knee pain in patients with knee OA indicating that alignment and pain are separate entities, and that the degree of preoperative malalignment is not a predictor of knee pain after high tibial osteotomy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-10-154
PMCID: PMC2796991  PMID: 19995425
17.  Choosing surgery: patients' preferences within a trial of treatments for anterior cruciate ligament injury. A qualitative study 
Background
The objective was to understand patients' views of treatment after acute anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, and their reasons for deciding to request surgery despite consenting to participate in a randomised controlled trial (to 'cross-over').
Methods
Thirty-four in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with young (aged 18–35), physically active individuals with ACL rupture who were participating in a RCT comparing training and surgical reconstruction with training only. 22/34 were randomised to training only but crossed over to surgery. Of these, 11 were interviewed before surgery, and 11 were interviewed at least 6 months after surgery. To provide additional information, 12 patients were interviewed before randomisation. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed using the Framework approach.
Results
Strong preference for surgery was commonplace and many patients said that they joined the RCT in order to bypass waiting lists. Patients who chose to cross-over described training as time consuming, boring and as unable to provide sufficient results within a reasonable timeframe. Some said their injured knees had given-way; others experienced new knee traumas; and many described their lack of trust in their knee. Patients believed that surgery would provide joint stability. Despite the ostensible satisfaction with surgery, more detailed exploration showed mixed views.
Conclusion
Participants in a trial of treatments for acute ACL injury express a variety of views and beliefs about those treatments, and trial participation happens in the absence of equipoise. Furthermore, opting for surgical reconstruction does not necessarily provide patients with satisfactory outcomes. Definition of successful outcome may require an individualised approach, incorporating patients' as well as surgeons' views before treatment decisions are made.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-10-100
PMCID: PMC2731720  PMID: 19664258
18.  Principles of brain plasticity in improving sensorimotor function of the knee and leg in healthy subjects: A double-blind randomized exploratory trial 
Background
Principles of brain plasticity is used in the treatment of patients with functional limitations to improve sensorimotor function. Training is included in the treatment of knee injury to improve both patient-reported function and sensorimotor function. However, impairment in sensorimotor function often persists despite training. Therefore, it was suggested that training programs need to be more effective to improve sensorimotor function after knee injury. The aim of the current study was to investigate if principles of brain plasticity that have been successfully used on the hand and foot to improve sensorimotor function can be applied on the knee. We hypothesized that temporary anesthesia of the skin area above and below the knee would improve sensorimotor function of the ipsilateral knee and leg.
Methods
In this first double-blind exploratory study, 28 uninjured subjects (mean age 26 years, range 19–34, 50% women) were randomized to temporary local cutaneous application of anesthetic (EMLA®) (n = 14) or placebo cream (n = 14). Fifty grams of EMLA, or placebo, was applied on the leg 10 cm above and 10 cm below the center of patella, leaving the area around the knee without cream. Measures of sensory function (perception of touch, vibration sense, knee kinesthesia) and motor function (knee muscle strength, hop test) were assessed before and after 90 minutes of treatment with EMLA or placebo. The paired t-test was used for comparisons within groups and the independent t-test for comparisons between groups. The number of subjects needed was determined by an a priori sample size calculation.
Results
No statistically significant or clinically relevant differences were seen over time (before vs. after) in the measures of sensory or motor functions in the EMLA group or in the placebo group. There were no differences between the groups due to treatment effect (EMLA vs. placebo).
Conclusion
We found no effect of temporary cutaneous anesthesia on sensorimotor function of the ipsilateral knee and leg in uninjured subjects. The principles used in this study remain to be tested in subjects with knee injury.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-10-99
PMCID: PMC2736924  PMID: 19656355
19.  Knee kinematics and kinetics in former soccer players with a 16-year-old ACL injury – the effects of twelve weeks of knee-specific training 
Background
Training of neuromuscular control has become increasingly important and plays a major role in rehabilitation of subjects with an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Little is known, however, of the influence of this training on knee stiffness during loading. Increased knee stiffness occurs as a loading strategy of ACL-injured subjects and is associated with increased joint contact forces. Increased or altered joint loads contribute to the development of osteoarthritis.
The aim of the study was to determine if knee stiffness, defined by changes in knee kinetics and kinematics of gait, step activity and cross-over hop could be reduced through a knee-specific 12-week training programme.
Methods
A 3-dimensional motion analysis system (VICON) and a force plate (AMTI) were used to calculate knee kinetics and kinematics before and after 12 weeks of knee-specific training in 12 males recruited from a cohort with ACL injury 16 years earlier. Twelve uninjured males matched for age, sex, BMI and activity level served as a reference group. Self-reported patient-relevant data were obtained by the KOOS questionnaire.
Results
There were no significant changes in knee stiffness during gait and step activity after training. For the cross-over hop, increased peak knee flexion during landing (from 44 to 48 degrees, p = 0.031) and increased internal knee extensor moment (1.28 to 1.55 Nm/kg, p = 0.017) were seen after training, indicating reduced knee stiffness. The KOOS sport and recreation score improved from 70 to 77 (p = 0.005) and was significantly correlated with the changes in knee flexion during landing for the cross-over hop (r = 0.6, p = 0.039).
Conclusion
Knee-specific training improved lower extremity kinetics and kinematics, indicating reduced knee stiffness during demanding hop activity. Self-reported sport and recreational function correlated positively with the biomechanical changes supporting a clinical importance of the findings. Further studies are needed to confirm these results in women and in other ACL injured populations.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-8-35
PMCID: PMC1865380  PMID: 17439651
20.  Serum levels of Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein (COMP) increase temporarily after physical exercise in patients with knee osteoarthritis 
Background
COMP (Cartilage oligomeric matrix protein) is a matrix protein, which is currently studied as a potential serum marker for cartilage processes in osteoarthritis (OA). The influence of physical exercise on serum COMP is not fully elucidated.
The objective of the present study was to monitor serum levels of COMP during a randomised controlled trial of physical exercise vs. standardised rest in individuals with symptomatic and radiographic knee OA.
Methods
Blood samples were collected from 58 individuals at predefined time points before and after exercise or rest, one training group and one control group. The physical exercise consisted of a one-hour supervised session twice a week and daily home exercises. In a second supplementary study 7 individuals were subjected to the same exercise program and sampling of blood was performed at fixed intervals before, immediately after, 30 and 60 minutes after the exercise session and then with 60 minutes interval for another five hours after exercise to monitor the short-term changes of serum COMP. COMP was quantified with a sandwich-ELISA (AnaMar Medical, Lund, Sweden).
Results
Before exercise or rest no significant differences in COMP levels were seen between the groups. After 60 minutes exercise serum COMP levels increased (p < 0.001). After 60 minutes of rest the serum levels decreased (p = 0.003). Median serum COMP values in samples obtained prior to exercise or rest at baseline and after 24 weeks did not change between start and end of the study. In the second study serum COMP was increased immediately after exercise (p = 0.018) and had decreased to baseline levels after 30 minutes.
Conclusion
Serum COMP levels increased during exercise in individuals with knee OA, whereas levels decreased during rest. The increased serum COMP levels were normalized 30 minutes after exercise session, therefore we suggest that samples of blood for analysis of serum COMP should be drawn after at least 30 minutes rest in a seated position. No increase was seen after a six-week exercise program indicating that any effect of individualized supervised exercise on cartilage turnover is transient.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-98
PMCID: PMC1712338  PMID: 17156423
21.  Knee complaints vary with age and gender in the adult population. Population-based reference data for the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) 
Background
Self-reported knee complaints may vary with age and gender. Reference data from the adult population would help to better interpret the outcome of interventions due to knee complaints. The objectives of the present study were to describe the variation of self-reported knee pain, function and quality of life with age and gender in the adult population and to establish population-based reference data for the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS).
Methods
Population-based cohort retrieved from the national population register. The knee-specific Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) was mailed to 840 subjects aged 18–84 yrs.
Results
68% response rate. Women in the age group 55–74 reported more knee-related complaints in all the KOOS subscales than age-matched men. The differences were significant for the subscales Pain (p = 0.027), Symptoms (p = 0.003) and ADL function (p = 0.046).
In men, worse ADL and Sport and Recreation function was seen in the oldest age group 75–84 years compared to the younger age groups (p < 0.030). In women, worse Pain (p < 0.007), ADL (p < 0.030), Sport and Recreation (p < 0.001) and QOL (p < 0.002) were seen already in the age group 55–74 compared to the younger age groups.
Conclusion
We found pain and other symptoms, physical function, and knee-related quality of life to vary with age and gender implying the use of age- and gender matched reference values for improved understanding of the outcome after interventions due to knee injury and knee OA.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-38
PMCID: PMC1471783  PMID: 16670005
22.  Validity and responsiveness of the Clubfoot Assessment Protocol (CAP). A methodological study 
Background
The Clubfoot Assessment Protocol (CAP) is a multi dimensional instrument designed for longitudinal follow up of the clubfoot deformity during growth. Item reliability has shown to be sufficient. In this article the CAP's validity and responsiveness is studied using the Dimeglio classification scoring as a gold standard.
Methods
Thirty-two children with 45 congenital clubfeet were assessed prospectively and consecutively at ages of new-born, one, two, four months and two years of age.
For convergent/divergent construct validity the Spearman's correlation coefficients were calculated. Discriminate validity was evaluated by studying the scores in bilateral clubfeet. The floor-ceiling effects at baseline (untreated clubfeet) and at two years of age (treated clubfeet) were evaluated. Responsiveness was evaluated by using effect sizes (ES) and by calculating if significant changes (Wilcoxons signed test) had occurred between the different measurement occasions.
Results
High to moderate significant correlation were found between CAP mobility I and morphology and the Dimeglio scores (rs = 0.77 and 0.44 respectively). Low correlation was found between CAP muscle function, mobility II and motion quality and the Dimeglio scoring system (rs = 0.20, 0.09 and 0.06 respectively). Of 13 children with bilateral clubfeet, 11 showed different CAP mobility I scores between right and left foot at baseline (untreated) compared with 5 with the Dimeglio score. At the other assessment occasions the CAP mobility I continued to show higher discrimination ability than the Dimeglio. No floor effects and low ceiling effects were found in the untreated clubfeet for both instruments. High ceiling effects were found in the CAP for the treated children and low for the Dimeglio.
Responsiveness was good. ES from untreated to treated ranged from 0.80 to 4.35 for the CAP subgroups and was 4.68 for the Dimeglio. The first four treatment months, the CAP mobility I had generally higher ES compared with the Dimeglio.
Conclusion
The Clubfoot Assessment Protocol shows in this study good validity and responsiveness. The CAP is more responsive when severity ranges between mild – moderate to severe, while the Dimeglio focuses more on the extremes. The ability to discriminate between different mobility status of the right and left foot in bilaterally affected children in this population was higher compared with the Dimeglio score implicating a better sensitivity for the CAP.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-28
PMCID: PMC1434742  PMID: 16539716
23.  Six-week high-intensity exercise program for middle-aged patients with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial [ISRCTN20244858] 
Background
Studies on exercise in knee osteoarthritis (OA) have focused on elderly subjects. Subjects in this study were middle-aged with symptomatic and definite radiographic knee osteoarthritis. The aim was to test the effects of a short-term, high-intensity exercise program on self-reported pain, function and quality of life.
Methods
Patients aged 36–65, with OA grade III (Kellgren & Lawrence) were recruited. They had been referred for radiographic examination due to knee pain and had no history of major knee injury. They were randomized to a twice weekly supervised one hour exercise intervention for six weeks, or to a non-intervention control group. Exercise was performed at ≥ 60% of maximum heart rate (HR max). The primary outcome measure was the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS). Follow-up occurred at 6 weeks and 6 months.
Results
Sixty-one subjects (mean age 56 (SD 6), 51 % women, mean BMI 29.5 (SD 4.8)) were randomly assigned to intervention (n = 30) or control group (n = 31). No significant differences in the KOOS subscales assessing pain, other symptoms, or function in daily life or in sport and recreation were seen at any time point between exercisers and controls. In the exercise group, an improvement was seen at 6 weeks in the KOOS subscale quality of life compared to the control group (mean change 4.0 vs. -0.7, p = 0.05). The difference between groups was still persistent at 6 months (p = 0.02).
Conclusion
A six-week high-intensive exercise program had no effect on pain or function in middle-aged patients with moderate to severe radiographic knee OA. Some effect was seen on quality of life in the exercise group compared to the control group.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-6-27
PMCID: PMC1187893  PMID: 15924620
24.  A 2-year prospective study of patient-relevant outcomes in patients operated on for knee osteoarthritis with tibial osteotomy 
Background
Tibial osteotomy is a treatment for younger and/or physically active patients suffering from uni-compartmental knee osteoarthritis. The open wedge osteotomy by the hemicallotasis technique includes the use of external fixation. The use of external fixation has several advantages, as early mobilization and the opportunity for optimal correction. However, the hemicallotasis technique has also been described as a cumbersome procedure for the patient. The aim of this study was to prospectively evaluate patient-relevant outcomes during the first 2 post-operative years. Especially the treatment period, during which external fixation was used, was closely monitored.
Methods
In an uncontrolled study, fifty-eight consecutive patients, 30 men and 28 women (mean age 54 years) were operated on by the hemicallotasis technique were evaluated with the patient-relevant outcome measure Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) preoperatively, during the treatment with external fixation, one week after removal of the external fixation, at 6 months, and at one and two years postoperatively.
Results
At the 2-year postoperative follow-up, all subscales of the KOOS were improved (p < 0.001), mostly in pain (41–80 on a 0–100 worst to best scale) and knee-related quality of life (21–61 on a 0–100 worst to best scale), compared to the preoperative status. Significant improvements in pain and other symptoms, function of daily life and quality of life were seen already during the treatment period (mean 98 ± 18 days) with the external fixation. More demanding functions such as kneeling, squatting, jumping and running, were improved first after extraction of the external fixation device and the pins.
Conclusion
Tibial osteotomy by the hemicallotasis technique yields large improvement in self-rated pain, function and quality of life, which persists over two years. Surprisingly, large improvements occurred already during the immediate post-operative period when the external fixation was still used.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-6-18
PMCID: PMC1090585  PMID: 15811186
25.  Hip disability and osteoarthritis outcome score (HOOS) – validity and responsiveness in total hip replacement 
Background
The aim of the study was to evaluate if physical functions usually associated with a younger population were of importance for an older population, and to construct an outcome measure for hip osteoarthritis with improved responsiveness compared to the Western Ontario McMaster osteoarthritis score (WOMAC LK 3.0).
Methods
A 40 item questionnaire (hip disability and osteoarthritis outcome score, HOOS) was constructed to assess patient-relevant outcomes in five separate subscales (pain, symptoms, activity of daily living, sport and recreation function and hip related quality of life). The HOOS contains all WOMAC LK 3.0 questions in unchanged form. The HOOS was distributed to 90 patients with primary hip osteoarthritis (mean age 71.5, range 49–85, 41 females) assigned for total hip replacement for osteoarthritis preoperatively and at six months follow-up.
Results
The HOOS met set criteria of validity and responsiveness. It was more responsive than WOMAC regarding the subscales pain (SRM 2.11 vs. 1.83) and other symptoms (SRM 1.83 vs. 1.28). The responsiveness (SRM) for the two added subscales sport and recreation and quality of life were 1.29 and 1.65, respectively. Patients ≤ 66 years of age (range 49–66) reported higher responsiveness in all five subscales than patients >66 years of age (range 67–85) (Pain SRM 2.60 vs. 1.97, other symptoms SRM 3.0 vs. 1.60, activity of daily living SRM 2.51 vs. 1.52, sport and recreation function SRM 1.53 vs. 1.21 and hip related quality of life SRM 1.95 vs. 1.57).
Conclusion
The HOOS 2.0 appears to be useful for the evaluation of patient-relevant outcome after THR and is more responsive than the WOMAC LK 3.0. The added subscales sport and recreation function and hip related quality of life were highly responsive for this group of patients, with the responsiveness being highest for those younger than 66.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-4-10
PMCID: PMC161815  PMID: 12777182

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