Functional measures of grip strength and gait remain altered long-term in a rat model of post-traumatic elbow contracture

Alex J. Reiter, Griffin J. Kivitz, Ryan M. Castile, Paul C. Cannon, Emily H. Lakes, Brittany Y. Jacobs, Kyle D. Allen, Aaron M. Chamberlain, Spencer P. Lake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Post-traumatic joint contracture (PTJC) is a debilitating condition, particularly in the elbow. Previously, we established an animal model of elbow PTJC quantifying passive postmortem 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number071001
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


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