The Efficacy of Backward Walking on Static Stability, Proprioception, Pain, and Physical Function of Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Author: Zehua Chen#1, Xiangling Ye#1, Yi Wang#1, Zhen Shen2, Jiatao Wu1, Weijian Chen1, Tao Jiang1,3, Huai Wu1,3, Xuemeng Xu1,3
1 The Fifth Clinical Medical College of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510405, China.
2 Kunming Municipal Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Kunming 650011, China.
3 Guangdong Second Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, No. 60 Hengfu Road, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510405, China.
Conference/Journal: Evid Based Complement Alternat Med
Date published: 2021 Jun 11
Other: Volume ID: 2021 , Pages: 5574966 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1155/2021/5574966. , Word Count: 278

Impaired static stability and proprioception have been observed in individuals with knee osteoarthritis (KOA), which serves as a major factor increasing risk of fall. This study aimed to investigate the effects of backward walking (BW) on static stability, proprioception, pain, and physical function in KOA patients.

Thirty-two subjects with knee osteoarthritis were randomly assigned to either an BW group (BG, n = 16) or a control group (CG, n = 16). The participants in the BG received combination treatment of a 4-week BW training and conventional treatments, while those in the CG was treated with conventional treatments alone. All the participants were tested for the assessment of static stability [center of pressure (COP) sway, including sway length (SL, mm) and sway area (SA, mm2)] and proprioception [average trajectory error (ATE, %) and completion time (CT, second)]. Additionally, pain and knee function scores were measured by the numerical rating scale (NRS) and the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis (WOMAC) Index, respectively. The assessments were conducted before and after intervention.

The COP sway (SA and SL), ATE, NRS, and WOMAC showed a significant decline at week 4 in the two groups in contrast to their baseline (P < 0.05). Moreover, after 4-week intervention, the SA [(610.50 ± 464.26) mm2 vs. (538.69 ± 420.52) mm2], NRS [(1.56 ± 0.63) vs. (2.25 ± 0.86)], and WOMAC [(11.69 ± 2.50) vs. (16.19 ± 3.94)] showed a significantly greater decrease in the BG compared to the CG (P < 0.05, respectively). However, the proprioception (ATE and CT) was closely similar between both groups at week 4 (P > 0.05).

BW is an effective adjunct to conventional treatment in reducing pain, improving physical function and static stability for KOA patients. It should be taken into consideration when developing rehabilitation programs for people with KOA.

PMID: 34221078 PMCID: PMC8213492 DOI: 10.1155/2021/5574966