Biomechanical joint loading mechanism of Tai Chi gait in individuals with knee osteoarthritis: A pilot simulation study

Author: Paulien Esther Roos1, Austin Mituniewicz1, Wei Liu2
1 CFD Research Corporation, Huntsville, AL, 35806, USA.
2 Dean's Office, School of Health Professions, UT Health San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX, 78229, USA.
Conference/Journal: Osteoarthr Cartil Open
Date published: 2021 Jun 1
Other: Volume ID: 3 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: 100158 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.ocarto.2021.100158. , Word Count: 264

Tai Chi (TC) has shown beneficial effects on joint function in knee osteoarthritis (OA). Biomechanical mechanisms of knee joint contact load (JCL) and muscle activations during TC are less understood. The purpose of this biomechanical simulation study was to examine JCL of TC gait, the most common used TC from and its causal interactions with muscle activations in knee OA.

Six knee OA and five healthy participants were recruited. Their full body motion of TC gait was collected. The JCL and muscle forces were quantified using a musculoskeletal simulation approach based on collected kinematics and kinetics. The JCL and muscle activations were compared between knee OA and healthy control group. In addition, the muscle contributions to the JCL were determined and compared between the two groups.

Knee OA subjects had lower peak anterior-posterior shear forces and higher lateral shear forces than healthy control subjects during TC gait. Knee OA subjects also showed higher activations of knee flexor muscles than control subjects. Both knee extensor and flexors of the knee OA group were contributing to JCL and in the control group mainly the knee extensors.

Our simulation results showed the JCL, muscle forces profiles, and muscle contributions to the JCL during TC gait in knee OA. The findings of this study provided a direct scientific link between JCL and muscle forces during TC gait in knee OA. This would allow us to develop more effective TC interventions for knee OA in the future.

Keywords: Knee joint contact force; Knee osteoarthritis; Simulation; Tai chi gait; Walking.

PMID: 34179829 PMCID: PMC8232348 DOI: 10.1016/j.ocarto.2021.100158