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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The assessment and treatment of dynamic balance in individuals with knee osteoarthritis Takacs, Judit


Introduction: Those with knee osteoarthritis report more falls than those without, and falls present serious economic, personal and public health consequences. Dynamic balance is an important factor associated with falls risk. Current clinical tests of balance in this population have limitations to their use. Further, interventions to improve dynamic balance have had mixed results in this population, possibly since more information on dynamic balancing ability is needed for better program design. This thesis examined the assessment and treatment of dynamic balancing ability in individuals with knee osteoarthritis. Methods: The Community Balance and Mobility Scale (CB&M), an advanced test of dynamic balance, was examined for use in individuals with knee osteoarthritis. The convergent validity, construct (known groups) validity, and test re-test reliability of the scale was assessed (Chapter 2). Convergent validity was assessed by comparing to tests measuring similar constructs, such as the Berg Balance Scale. Construct validity was assessed by comparing scoring of those with and without knee osteoarthritis. Test re-test reliability was assessed one week apart. Clinically modifiable factors associated with dynamic balancing ability were then investigated (Chapter 3). These included muscle strength, knee joint proprioception, knee joint range of motion and anticipatory postural control. Finally, a ten week dynamic balance training program, designed using findings from Chapter 2 and 3, was assessed in Chapter 4. This was a randomized controlled trial, with dynamic balancing ability and self-reported physical function measured at baseline and follow-up. Results: The CB&M was found to display moderate to strong convergent validity with other tests, strong construct validity and high test re-test reliability. Lower extremity strength, and to a lesser extent, knee range of motion were important factors associated with dynamic balancing ability. Ten weeks of training resulted in significant improvement in self-reported physical function but not in CB&M scores. Conclusion: This dissertation provides new understanding of dynamic balance assessment and treatment in those with knee osteoarthritis. These findings highlight a valid and reliable clinical outcome measure for dynamic balance, as well as provide insights into balance training program designed to improve outcomes and maintain high adherence in this population.

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