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EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL AND REHABILITATION MEDICINE
Rivista di Medicina Fisica e Riabilitativa dopo Eventi Patologici
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Indexed/Abstracted in: CINAHL, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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Europa Medicophysica 1998 Marzo;34(1):17-24
Liquid nitrogen cryotherapy effect on gait and pain in subjects with osteoarthritis of the knee
Garcia Martin J. 1, Rodriguez Rodriguez L. P. 1, Dankloff Mora C. 2, Rodriguez Torres R. 2, Pascual Gomez F. 1, Gomez Pellico L. 2
1 Departamento de Medicina Física y de Rehabilitácion, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain;
2 Departamento de Ciencias Morfológicas y Cirugía, Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Spain
BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to establish whether liquid nitrogen cryotherapy modifies pain in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and influences gait. The effects of liquid nitrogen cryotherapy on 26 subjects with bilateral osteoarthritis of the knee were investigated. Patients were treated daily for five minutes for a total of 15 sessions. Clinical (joint range of motion, manual muscular strength) and analgesic effects of cryotherapy were determined. The effects on patient mobility using biomechanical techniques which analyze gait were also evaluated.
RESULTS: After treatment, clinical improvement in knee extension (p<0.05) and quadriceps strength in both lower limbs (p<0.01) was observed. A reduction in pain was also detected, corresponding to various indices of the McGill Pain Questionnaire (Sensory Pain Rating Index (PRI (R)-S) (p<0.05), Total Pain Rating Index (PRI (R)-T) (p<0.05), Number of Words Chosen (NWC) (p<0.05) and Present Pain Intensity (PPI) (p<0.01). A non-significant tendency to improve gait variables at three speeds (slow, normal and fast), detected using force platforms, was observed. Kinetic and kinematic variables showed no differences after treatment with the exception of lateral forces which were reduced in both legs during fast gait (p<0.05), improving patient stability.
CONCLUSIONS: The absence of any significant differences in gait variables following treatment suggests that apart from a clinical improvement in knee extension and quadriceps strength, cryotherapy may induce only analgesic effects. These effects do not seem to be reflected in the biomechanical characteristics of gait in these patients.