A New Stress Test for Knee Joint Cartilage.
Cartilage metabolism-both the synthesis and breakdown of cartilage constituents and architecture-is influenced by its mechanical loading. Therefore, physical activity is often recommended to maintain cartilage health and to treat or slow the progression of osteoarthritis, a debilitating joint disease causing cartilage degeneration. However, the appropriate exercise frequency, intensity, and duration cannot be prescribed because direct in vivo evaluation of cartilage following exercise has not yet been performed. To address this gap in knowledge, we developed a cartilage stress test to measure the in vivo strain response of healthy human subjects' tibial cartilage to walking exercise. We varied both walk duration and speed in a dose-dependent manner to quantify how these variables affect cartilage strain. We found a nonlinear relationship between walk duration and in vivo compressive strain, with compressive strain initially increasing with increasing duration, then leveling off with longer durations. This work provides innovative measurements of cartilage creep behavior (which has been well-documented in vitro but not in vivo) during walking. This study showed that compressive strain increased with increasing walking speed for the speeds tested in this study (0.9-2.0 m/s). Furthermore, our data provide novel measurements of the in vivo strain response of tibial cartilage to various doses of walking as a mechanical stimulus, with maximal strains of 5.0% observed after 60 minutes of walking. These data describe physiological benchmarks for healthy articular cartilage behavior during walking and provide a much-needed baseline for studies investigating the effect of exercise on cartilage health.
Paranjape, CS; Cutcliffe, HC; Grambow, SC; Utturkar, GM; Collins, AT; Garrett, WE; Spritzer, CE; DeFrate, LE
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