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research-article

Functional Measures of Grip Strength and Gait Remain Altered Long-term in a Rat Model of Post-traumatic Elbow Contracture

[+] Author and Article Information
Alex Reiter

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
alex.j.reiter@wustl.edu

Griffin Kivitz

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
gkivitz@wustl.edu

Ryan M Castile

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
castiler@wustl.edu

Paul Cannon

Seed Production Innovation, Bayer Crop Science, St. Louis, MO
paulccannon@gmail.com

Emily Lakes

J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
lakeseh@gmail.com

Brittanny Jacobs

J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
b.yi.jacobs@gmail.com

Kyle Allen

J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
kyle.allen@bme.ufl.edu

Aaron M Chamberlain

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
amchamberlain@wustl.edu

Spencer P Lake

Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO; 1 Brookings Drive, Campus Box 1185, St. Louis, MO 63130
lake.s@wustl.edu

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4043433 History: Received December 22, 2018; Revised March 29, 2019

Abstract

Post-traumatic joint contracture (PTJC) is a debilitating condition, particularly in the elbow. Previously, we established an animal model of elbow PTJC quantifying passive post-mortem joint mechanics and histological changes temporally. These results showed persistent motion loss similar to what is experienced in humans. Functional assessment of PTJC in our model was not previously considered; however, these measures would provide a clinically relevant measure and would further validate our model by demonstrating persistently altered joint function. To this end, a custom bilateral grip strength device was developed, and a recently established open-source gait analysis system was used to quantify forelimb function in our unilateral injury model. In vivo joint function was shown to be altered long-term and never fully recover. Specifically, forelimb strength in the injured limbs showed persistent deficits at all time points; additionally, gait patterns remained imbalanced and asymmetric throughout the study (although a few gait parameters did return to near normal levels). A quantitative understanding of these longitudinal, functional disabilities further strengthens the clinical relevance of our rat PTJC model enabling assessment of the effectiveness of future interventions aimed at reducing or preventing PTJC.

Copyright (c) 2019 by ASME
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