Biomechanical analysis during single-leg squat in individuals with knee osteoarthritis

Backgroud: The single-leg squat (SLS) is a functional task to evaluate the abnormal movement patterns and potential neuromuscular deficits in the lower limbs. Still, it is unknown if SLS could provide information to older adults with knee osteoarthritis (KOA). The study’s objective was to analyze the EMG pattern, kinematics, and postural control in individuals with and without KOA during SLS.

Methods: Participated in this study, 60 volunteers of both sexes, 30 had KOA (allocated into the KOA group – KOAG), and 30 were healthy (allocated into the Healthy Group – HG) performing the single-leg squat. Surface electromyography (EMG) was assessed for the gastrocnemius medialis (GM), biceps femoris (BF), gluteus medius (GLM), rectus femoris (RF), vastus medialis (VM), vastus lateralis (VL), and tibialis anterior (TA) in two phases (downward – P1 and upward – P2). The kinematic data was evaluated using an electrogoniometer. The center of pressure (CoP) was obtained using data collected from a force plate.

Results: EMG activity was increased for GM and TA muscles during the P1 of the movement and the GM and GLM muscles during P2 of the movement. The angular displacement of the KOAG was lower when compared with the HG. There was no statistical difference for the co-contraction and postural control data.

Conclusions: The SLS analysis showed that EMG activity of the muscles TA, GM, and GLM was increased in the KOAG, but this pattern could be affected by fear of movement leading to reduced knee angular displacement.

Keywords: Electromyography; Knee; Osteoarthritis; Single-leg squat.