By Emily Delzell
Findings presented at in March at the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists annual meeting in Atlanta suggest rigid knee orthoses (KOs) likely have no negative impact on energy efficiency or performance.
Investigators from Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta tested the impact of knee brace wear on joints of the ipsalateral and contralateral leg, evaluating whether altered kinematics reduced energy efficiency or changed joint forces and moments. They collected data on nine participants (three men) who completed two trials of hopping on both feet for 20 seconds without a device and while wearing rigid KOs with free range of motion.
Investigators found small but significant differences in joint kinematics with brace wear, but these differences were never more than a few degrees (< 5°) and were all within one standard deviation of the no-KO condition.
They also observed that participants hopped with slightly more extended joints, but noted these differences still fell within the normal variability of hopping without brace wear. Overall, they concluded that alterations between the two groups were likely not clinically significant.
Selgrade ES, Smith-Armstrong J, Johnston B, Chang YH. Effect of knee orthosis wear on lower limb kinematics and muscle activity during two-legged hopping. Presented at the 38th Annual Meeting and Symposium of the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists, Atlanta, March 2012.