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Research Summary

Strength and functional improvement using pneumatic brace with extension assist for end-stage knee osteoarthritis

Cherian, J.J., Bhave, A., Kapadia, B.H., Starr, R., McElroy, M.J., and Mont, M.A. (2015) J. Arthroplasty. 30(5): 747-53. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2014.11.036.

Key Findings

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Increased quadriceps strength

Brace users experienced a 54% gain to their quadriceps muscle strength.

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Increased Hamstring strength

Brace users experienced a 24% gain to their hamstring muscle strength.

Functional test improvements

Brace users made significant improvements in three functional tests.

A novel pneumatic unloader brace (OA Rehabilitator) with an active swing-assist and neuromuscular retaining properties was evaluated across multiple patient outcomes in a prospective, randomized trial. After a minimum of 3 months, patients were assessed for changes in muscle strength, objective function, subjective function, pain, quality of life, and conversion to total knee arthroplasty. When compared with a matched cohort, the patients, all of whom had end-stage knee osteoarthritis (OA), showed significant improvements in muscle strength, several functional tests, and patient reported outcomes.

Relevance to Levitation

The novel brace in Cherian et al. (2015), the OA Rehabilitator, has been subsequently evaluated in comparison to Levitation. In a recent study, both braces were shown to reduce internal joint contact forces as a result of their unloading capabilities, although they differed to the degree to which they are able to unload the knee 1– Budarick, A.R. et al. (2020). J. Biomech. Eng. 142(1). While the OA Rehabilitator produced joint unloading equivalent to losing 5 lb of bodyweight, Levitation resulted in a reduction of joint forces equivalent to losing 45 lb of bodyweight. The subsequent study also compared their assistive moments across a range of brace flexion angles, with Levitation providing larger moments at higher angles than the OA Rehabilitator.

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