» Pandya, Nirav K BA; Draganich, Louis F PHD; Mauer, Andreas BA; Piotrowski, Gary A BS; Pottenger, Lawrence MD, PHD Abstract: Tripping on an object is the most frequent cause of falls. We examined the effects of painful osteoarthritis of the knee on obstacle avoidance success rates in older adults. Obstacle avoidance success rates, pain, body mass index, visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, depth perception, and single-leg stance duration were evaluated in 17 patients with painful osteoarthritis of the knees (age range, 59.6 +/- 8.1 years) and 14 age-matched healthy control subjects (age range, 61.1 +/- 10.0 years). The patients with osteoarthritis of the knees had a 37% lower obstacle avoidance success rate, a 54% lower single-leg stance duration, and a 24% greater body mass index than the control subjects. Age, visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and depth perception were not different between the two groups. Obstacle avoidance success rates and single-leg stance durations decreased linearly as pain increased in the patients with osteoarthritis of the knees. Obstacle avoidance success rates also decreased linearly as single-leg stance duration decreased in the patients with osteoarthritis of the knees. Osteoarthritis of the knees reduced obstacle avoidance success rates, supporting epidemiologic studies that have found osteoarthritis to be a risk factor for falls. This study showed that pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knees increased the propensity to trip on an obstacle (the greater the pain the greater the propensity to trip and fall) and underscores the importance of treating pain associated with osteoarthritis.
Clinical Orthopaedics & Related Research. (431):150-156, February 2005.