Quantification of Cumulative Load on the Knee using a Vibration Emission Method
Dorbala, Venkata Navaneeta
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Background: Epidemiological studies suggest an increased incidence of osteoarthritis among workers in occupations requiring squat-lifting such as in construction, mining and farming. Squat-lifting postures can induce heavy mechanical loads on the joint, causing the articulating surfaces to deform. This can result in changes of vibration characteristics of the joint surfaces. Differences in the vibration characteristics of normal and pathological joints have been established and used in the past for classifying severity of disease. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of cumulative mechanical load on the vibration properties of the knee joint and to gain an understanding of how these properties may relate to an increase in cumulative load placed on the joint. Methods: In this study, cumulative load was measured as the resultant knee joint torque during squat lifting, while a piezoelectric accelerometer was used to capture vibration signals from points on the knee during flexion and extension. Twelve university students were recruited for a repeated measures study. Each participant attended one session where they had to perform a series of six squat-lifting tasks on a force platform. Motion capture equipment was used to obtain kinematic data. The cumulative 3-D moment on the joint was calculated using inverse dynamics. Results: A visual inspection of an ensemble average constructed for the frequency spectrum of all participants revealed that differences may exist in the 750 Hz - 2000 Hz bandwidth for vibrations coming from the patella during flexion. Further statistical analysis by a t-test and ANOVA showed a decrease in the RMS power of the signal captured in this bandwidth before and after mechanical load was induced by squat lifting. A linear regression analysis indicated a significant correlation between cumulative 3-D moment on the knee joint and the median frequency of vibration signals from the patella during flexion in the 1000 Hz - 2500 Hz range. Conclusions: Overall, the results of this study indicate the possibility of a relationship between mechanical exposure on the knee joint and its vibration properties during joint movement. Despite the small sample size, a declining trend was observed in the normalized RMS power of signals with increase in loading. However, the quantitative nature of this relationship is not clear and the current study points towards a non-linear relationship between joint exposure and knee vibrations. Future studies must investigate this possibility using direct measures of joint loading, cartilage deformation and their relation to joint vibrations.
- Masters Theses