Jacob J. Capin
According to study results, slower walking speed was a strong predictor of worse trochlear cartilage health. This finding led researchers to conclude that slow walking speed may be an early sign of patellofemoral osteoarthritis after ACL reconstruction.
“We examined the relationship between an early indicator of knee osteoarthritis (femoral trochlear T2 relaxation time) and several biomechanical variables during walking,” study co-author Jacob J. Capin, PT, DPT, PhD, told Healio.com/Orthopedics. “Our key findings were that walking speed was the strongest predictor of early patellofemoral osteoarthritis in the ACL reconstructed limb, and most biomechanical variables were either weakly correlated or not associated with cartilage degradation. While cause and effect cannot be determined from this study, patients who walked faster had healthier knee cartilage.”
Capin and colleagues compared walking mechanics 3 months after ACL reconstruction with femoral trochlear cartilage T2 relaxation times 6 months after ACL reconstruction. After primary unilateral ACL reconstruction, 26 patients participated in detailed motion analyses 3.3 months after ACL reconstruction and underwent quantitative MRI at 6.3 months postoperatively.
Results showed no between limb differences in femoral trochlear cartilage T2 relaxation time. Investigators noted slower walking speed correlated with higher femoral trochlear cartilage T2 relaxation times in the involved limb. Slower walking speed also correlated with greater interlimb differences in trochlear T2 relaxation times. Walking mechanics and trochlear T2 relaxation times were weakly correlated.
Capin said, “As a clinician-scientist, our findings are both somewhat surprising and quite exciting as walking speed may be evaluated accurately within a clinical setting whereas biomechanical variables, such as joint angles and muscle forces, cannot.”– by Monica Jaramillo
Disclosures: Capin reports the study was part of his PhD dissertation funded by a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Predoctoral Fellowship (NICHD F30-HD096830) and by the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research Promotion of Doctoral Studies (PODS) Level 1 and Level 2 Scholarships. Please see the study for a list of all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.