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Bone growth increases the knee flexion contracture angle: A study using rats

  • Guy Trudel
    Affiliations
    Bone and Joint Laboratory (Trudel, Uhthoff), Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine (Trudel), Animal Care Services (Kilborn), and Division of Orthopaedic Surgery (Uhthoff), University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ont, Canada
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  • Susan H. Kilborn
    Affiliations
    Bone and Joint Laboratory (Trudel, Uhthoff), Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine (Trudel), Animal Care Services (Kilborn), and Division of Orthopaedic Surgery (Uhthoff), University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ont, Canada
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  • Hans K. Uhthoff
    Affiliations
    Bone and Joint Laboratory (Trudel, Uhthoff), Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine (Trudel), Animal Care Services (Kilborn), and Division of Orthopaedic Surgery (Uhthoff), University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ont, Canada
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  • Author Footnotes
    NO LABEL a. SPSS Inc, 233 S Wacker Dr, 11th Fl, Chicago, IL 60606.

      Abstract

      Trudel G, Kilborn SH, Uhthoff HK. Bone growth increases the knee flexion contracture angle: a study using rats. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2001;82:583-8. Objectives: To assess the impact of bone growth on the flexion contracture angle at the knee, to measure the bone growth pattern in rats, and to assess the impact of immobility on bone growth. Design: Experimental, controlled study. Setting: Bone and joint laboratory. Animals: Sixty Sprague-Dawley rats. Interventions: Knee joints of 40 rats were immobilized unilaterally in flexion. Sham-operated animals (n = 20) were controls. Main Outcome Measures: The contracture angle and the femur and tibia lengths on radiographs. Results: The angle of flexion increased over time and was largely explained by bone growth (r =.725, p <.01). Femur and tibia grew in rats until they were 11 months old. Immobility enhanced growth in bone length, especially of the femur, after 16 and 32 weeks of immobility (p <.05). Conclusions: Knee flexion contracture angle increased as a consequence of normal bone growth, a situation that is also encountered in skeletally immature children. The continued growth in length of bones in children may influence the progression of contractures and add to the therapeutic challenge. Ongoing bone growth should be considered when interpreting reports that use animal models for bone and joint diseases. © 2001 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

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