Evaluation of Knee Joint Loading In Service Members With Unilateral Lower Extremity Trauma
Individuals with a traumatic lower limb amputation to one limb (e.g. soldiers with blast injuries) have a greater risk of developing knee osteoarthritis (OA) in their intact limb, compared to their amputated limb or to the general non-amputee population. The sources of this disparity in knee OA risk are often speculated to be due to mechanical overuse / overloading of the intact limb's knee that leads to cartilage loss over time, but this hypothesis has not been tested. We will measure baseline knee joint loading in locomotion using instrumented gait analysis in a population of Service Member amputees and will examine correlations between joint loading and cartilage health assessed by clinical imaging periodically over four years. The results will test the hypothesis that joint loading can predict future cartilage integrity, and will inform interventions designed to improve knee joint health and reduce knee OA risk in this population.