Home > Journals > European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine > Past Issues > Europa Medicophysica 1998 March;34(1) > Europa Medicophysica 1998 March;34(1):17-24

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Europa Medicophysica 1998 March;34(1):17-24

Copyright © 1998 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

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


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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.

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