Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Andrew W. Froehle, Ph.D. (Advisor); Drew Pringle, Ed.D., FACSM (Committee Member); Kathrin Engisch, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Knee osteoarthritis (KOA), is globally prevalent source of disability for the elderly. This degenerative malady progresses with age and has no cure. It manifests in gait changes and affects overall quality of life. Exercise therapy has been shown to improve knee joint range of motion, stiffness and pain due to KOA. This improvement is due in part to the direct relationship between muscle strength and joint stability. The purpose of this study is to examine how a passive range of motion (ROM) exercises and stretching regimens affect gait-alterations and associated pain from KOA experienced during walking. Nine KOA subjects were recruited from a local orthopedic clinic and the Fel’s longitudinal study, with a final sample size of 7 subjects completing the trial. Subjects performed self-paced walking trials before and after a 4-week long, bi-weekly set of passive ROM and stretching exercises. A trained pre-physical therapy student administered the therapy. Data necessary to assess gait before and after the intervention was acquired via standard gait analysis. Participants rated their pain before the intervention, at the fifth trial and after the intervention ended. Subjects experienced significant changes in walking speed, stride-length, cadence, peak knee flexion in stance, peak knee flexion in swing and knee flexion/extension (KFE) ROM in swing. Pain did not significantly decrease, remaining largely unchanged. These data supported our hypothesis that a combination of passive ROM and stretching would result in increased ROM and improved patient gait. Our hypothesis that pain would be significantly decreased was not supported. To improve effectiveness of rehabilitation, further research is needed to elucidate the effects of exercise therapy on osteoarthritis-based pain during ambulation.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

Anatomy Commons