Thesis: Therapeutic knee taping in patients with knee osteoarthritis: Effect on knee joint kinematics, kinetics, knee pain and muscle activation during gait and commonly affected daily tasks.
Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most debilitating and prevalent diseases associated with aging, and is estimated to affect 9% of men and 18% of women over 65 years of age. Knee OA affects the condylar surfaces of the joint and its associated structures (bone, cartilage, ligaments, fat pad). In general, most knee OA treatments are expensive and/or invasive and target the symptoms of pain. The majority of these are pharmaceutical interventions that treat the symptoms of pain, but fail to influence the mechanical etiology of disease initiation/progression. The progression of OA has been shown to be affected by large joint contact forces over the condylar surface of the joint, however, current biomechanical models still rely heavily on external knee loads, joint kinematics and muscle excitation measures to predict these internal knee forces. External knee joint moments, joint kinematics and muscle activation measures are, therefore, used as surrogate measures of knee joint contact forces. Therapeutic taping methods have proven effective in reducing a patient’s subjective assessment of knee pain in arthritic populations, however, no research has been conducted as to how taping may affect the biomechanics of the knee joint, specifically knee joint kinematics, kinetics and neuromuscular functioning during the gait cycle.
Why my research is important
Clinical knee joint taping has the potential to offer an inexpensive, simple and effective alternative to traditional conservative management therapies for knee OA such as walking aids, orthotics and drugs, as well as orthopaedic surgery. OA remains one of the few chronic diseases of aging with few effective, non-invasive treatments. Current treatment methods are all potentially invasive, expensive and/or do not treat the mechanical etiology of disease progression/initiation (drugs, exercise, surgery, walking aids). Due to the large percentage of older populations (9% of men, 18% of women over 65) who suffer from knee OA, this research has the potential to greatly improve the quality of life of many people across Australia and worldwide. Aside from the potential benefits to participants, this study will be the first of its kind to investigate the effect of therapeutic taping techniques on knee pain, knee kinematics, knee kinetics, and muscle activation within an arthritic population.