Functional performance of the knee after intraarticular anesthesia

R. L. Barrack, H. B. Skinner, M. E. Brunet, R. J. Haddad

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57 Scopus citations


Ten healthy young volunteers underwent gait analysis and tests of knee joint position sense. Gait analysis included determination of stride characteristics (velocity, cadence, gait cycle, stride strength, and single limb support time), force plate analysis, and motion analysis of the knee. The test of joint position sense examined the ability of the subject to reproduce passive positioning of the knee and the ability to detect change in angle at the knee joint. In a double-blind manner, 10 cc of sterile fluid were injected into the left knee of each volunteer. Five received 2% lidocaine, the other five received sterile saline. All tests were then repeated. No statistically significant difference was observed in any measurement before and after injection in either test group. It is concluded that intraarticular anesthesia has no effect on gait pattern or joint proprioception as measured. Intraarticular local anesthesia is used in sports medicine to alleviate pain during arthroscopy of the knee under local anesthetic. The possibility of permitting damage in the early postoperative period due to loss of joint position sense is addressed in this paper. The results of this study suggest that injection of local anesthetic into a joint with an intact joint capsule does not compromise joint position sense as measured in this study. Furthermore, no change in gait parameters was observed in the functional task of ambulation. It must be noted that no conclusions regarding the loss of pain sensation can be made from the results of this study. Also, no conclusions regarding competitive activity can be drawn from this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-261
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1983


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