170220 Normal knee range of motion or the lack thereof and the link with osteoarthritis 2/4
In July 2011, a poster presentation presented at the annual meeting of the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine by doctors from the Shelburne Knee Center in Indianapolis, Indiana clearly showed that a lack of ROM was a predictor of future osteoarthritis. The authors found that patients who were able to obtain and then maintain normal knee motion had a lower incidence of osteoarthritis than patients who were unable to obtain normal range of motion or lost knee motion after the rehab was finished.”
Granted, this study focused on anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) and not a total knee replacement, however if normal ROM is not present in the new knee then more uneven loads will be placed on its counterpart. This lopsided loading puts unnatural stresses on specific parts of the joint, which in turn causes greater wear patterns to show up on these areas. This can cause degeneration in the joint that later on in life develops into osteoarthritis.
By way of background, the authors reviewed numerous studies that linked range of motion loss with arthritic changes post-surgery. One study “found that flexion contractures were associated with osteoarthritis (OA) seven and thirteen years after surgery. Another study found that fifteen years after surgery, forty three percent of those patients who had radiographic evidence of OA had loss of ROM versus only fourteen percent of those with normal radiographs. Several studies have established that meniscectomy and articular cartilage damage are major risk factors for OA development.”