Knee joint biomechanics of simplified 24 Tai Chi forms and association with pain in individuals with knee osteoarthritis: A pilot study

Author: Feng Yang1, Wei Liu2
1 Department of Kinesiology and Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, 30303, USA.
2 School of Health Professions, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, 78229, USA.
Conference/Journal: Osteoarthr Cartil Open
Date published: 2021 Jun 1
Other: Volume ID: 3 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: 100149 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.ocarto.2021.100149. , Word Count: 257

Tai Chi (TC) is a multi-beneficial exercise for improving health and function in knee osteoarthritis (OA). Biomechanical insights of 24 TC forms at the knee joint are not well understood. We aimed to examine knee joint biomechanics of TC actions form by form and their interactions with pain in individuals with knee OA.

Ten knee OA participants were recruited. Their full body motion during performance of 24 TC forms was collected. The knee joint biomechanics were determined by using an inverse dynamic approach based on collected full body kinematics and kinetics. In addition, the knee joint pain level was scored during each TC form. The joint moments were compared between walking trials and each TC form. The relationship between knee joint biomechanics and pain scale was assessed.

The knee adduction moment for five TC forms was different from the walking trial. The knee extension moment for 21 TC forms differed from the walking trial. For TC trials, the knee extension moment, but not the adduction moment, was positively correlated with pain level. Similarly, the knee extension moment was moderately proportional to pain level during the walking trials, but not the adduction moment.

Our pilot results explored the knee joint biomechanics profiles of individual TC forms and examined their associations with knee joint pain. The findings in this study could provide scientific basis to select the best TC forms for the purpose of reducing knee joint pain among individuals with knee OA.

Keywords: Knee Joint Biomechanics; Knee Osteoarthritis; Pain; Tai Chi.

PMID: 34212157 PMCID: PMC8245205 DOI: 10.1016/j.ocarto.2021.100149