SOURCE: Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation

November 05, 2014 14:01 ET

Kessler Researchers Apply Vertical MRI to Study Biomechanics of Knee in Osteoarthritis

Novel Study by Dr. Barrance of Footwear Interventions Won 2013 Clinical Biomechanics Award

WEST ORANGE, NJ--(Marketwired - Nov 5, 2014) - Kessler scientists have published their award-winning research using vertical MRI to study changes in tibiofemoral contact associated with lateral wedging. "American Society of Biomechanics Clinical Biomechanics Award 2013: Tibiofemoral contact location changes associated with lateral heel wedging -- A weight bearing MRI study" (DOI: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2014.08.014) was published online ahead of print on September 4 by Clinical Biomechanics. The 2013 Clinical Biomechanics Award was awarded to first author Peter Barrance, PhD, in September 2013 at the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics.

Co-authors are Venkata Gade, MS, and Jerome Allen, MS (formerly) of Kessler Foundation, and Jeffrey Cole, MD. Dr. Barrance is senior research scientist in Human Performance & Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation. He is also an assistant professor of physical medicine & rehabilitation (PM&R) at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and a member of the affiliated faculty of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). Dr. Cole, the study's physician co-investigator, is director of Electrodiagnostic Medicine and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation and clinical associate professor of PM&R at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. 

Osteoarthritis of the knee is a common, sometimes disabling condition that warrants scientific investigation of its genesis and progression, pain mechanisms, and the effectiveness of interventions. This article provides insight into the effects of lateral heel wedging, a low-cost, noninvasive intervention, in 14 subjects with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee. Participants underwent biofeedback-assisted vertical open MRI imaging of one knee while standing upright and at 20 degrees flexion. Using computer modeling, the contact patch coordinates were measured for the medial and lateral compartments of the tibial plateau, with and without wedging (5-degree lateral wedging). 

"We found that lateral heel wedging had a small but significant effect on the location of lateral condyle contact," said Dr. Barrance. "During flexion, the contact patch of the lateral femoral condyle shifted anteriorly with lateral heel wedging. This study demonstrates that vertical MRI imaging is useful for the investigation of mechanical changes in joints induced by weight bearing. This technology, combined with mechanical modeling methods, may help us understand how footwear interventions affect the mechanics of the knee joint."

Dr. Barrance was recently awarded a three-year grant of $600,000 from NIDRR to apply weight-bearing MRI to the study of in-shoe orthoses in people with knee osteoarthritis.

Funding was provided by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), (H133G080136 & H133P070007), and Kessler Foundation.

About Human Performance & Engineering Research

Under the directorship of Guang Yue, PhD, Human Performance & Engineering Research conducts a variety of mobility rehabilitation and related biomechanical and neurophysiological research studies with funding from National Institutes of Health, NIDRR, New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Injury Research, Craig Neilsen Foundation, and Kessler Foundation. The research scientists have faculty appointments at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and NJIT.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit

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