Movement Retraining Reduces Knee Pain

BY Rebecca Jacobson  June 4, 2012 at 4:50 PM EST

Roughly 50 percent of people show signs of arthritis in the knee, and scientists at Stanford University believe better walking habits can go a long way to alleviate the pain.

Mark Cutkosky, a Stanford University mechanical engineer, studies arthritis sufferers by rigging them with sensors and then directing them to walk on a treadmill. Custom software calculates the forces on their joints, and scientists suggest changes to their gait accordingly.

“If you were, for example, able to turn your toes in or maybe your knees out, you could reduce the adverse loads on the knee joint,’” Cutkosky said.

The team is also developing a portable biofeedback device that vibrates with each misstep to help the volunteers learn how to walk better outside the lab.

NewsHour’s science correspondent Miles O’Brien reports for the National Science Foundation’s* Science Nation.

*For the record, the National Science Foundation is an underwriter of the NewsHour.