Biomechanical Evaluation of the Levitation Knee Brace
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a debilitating musculoskeletal disease affecting approximately one-third of the adult Canadian population. The most common location of OA occurring is at the knee. OA can affect all three compartments of the knee joint. Knee braces are commonly prescribed for knee OA to reduce pain and improve user function. The LevitationTM “Tri-Compartment Unloader” knee brace (Spring Loaded Technology) was designed to reduce forces in all three compartments of the knee by lowering quadriceps muscle activity, a predictor of knee joint contact force. The effect of the Levitation brace on tri-compartment joint contact forces has yet to be fully investigated. The research objective of this study was to preliminarily investigate the effect of the Levitation brace in a healthy subject on 3-dimensional (3-D) joint kinematics and kinetics, and muscle activity, using biomechanical and musculoskeletal (MSK) computer modeling assessments during a step-back lunge movement. An experimental pilot study was performed to assess the effect of the Levitation brace on joint kinematics and kinetics using a novel combined motion analysis and High Speed Biplanar Radiography approach. A musculoskeletal modelling approach was developed to analyze the effect of the Levitation brace on tri-compartment contact forces, resultant joint moments, and simulated muscle activations. The experimental study results indicate that the Levitation brace did not impact knee joint angles between bracing conditions. The brace reduced knee abduction/adduction and internal/external rotation moments when compared to the unbraced condition. The brace’s impact on flexion/extension moments was unclear. The MSK modelling results predict that the Levitation brace reduced peak contact forces in each of the knee compartments when compared to the unbraced condition. The brace increased quadriceps muscle activation and peak knee extension moments compared to the unbraced condition, contrary to what was expected. Together, the experimental and musculoskeletal modelling results provide a 3-D evaluation of the effect of the Levitation brace on tri-compartment knee joint dynamics which can be used to provide further understanding of the brace design efficacy for OA treatment, and can be applied to improve brace product design and provide insights for future product developments.
Biomechanics, Knee, Brace, Musculoskeletal Modelling
Baxter, R. C. J. (2023). Biomechanical evaluation of the Levitation knee brace (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca.