Knee flexion contracture influences the physiological movements in lower extremities and may cause the kinematic changes of the trunk. Our purpose was to investigate static and dynamic changes in trunk kinematics with simulated knee flexion contracture. Ten healthy females averaged 62 years participated in our study. Unilateral knee flexion contractures of 15° and 30° were simulated with a knee brace. Relaxed standing and level walking were measured at our laboratory using a motion analysis system which consisted of five cameras, a force plate, and thirteen retro-reflective markers. Three-dimensional trunk kinematics and vertical knee forces (% Body Weight) with the contractures were compared with those without the contracture. The 15° contracture did not significantly change trunk kinematics. However, the 30° contracture significantly changed the kinematics in each of the following planes. In the coronal plane, the trunk tilted to the contracture side in standing and walking. In the sagittal plane, posterior inclination of the pelvis in standing significantly increased. In addition, anterior inclination of the trunk and pelvis during walking significantly increased. In the axial plane, trunk rotation to the unaffected side significantly decreased during walking. The vertical knee force in the contracture limb decreased, being accompanied by the increase of the force in the unaffected limb during standing and walking. Results of our study suggest that knee flexion contracture significantly influences three-dimensional trunk kinematics during relaxed standing and level walking, and will lead to spinal imbalance. These facts may explain the onset of the "Knee-Spine Syndrome".
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