KompetenzNetzwerk Immobilisationsbedingte MuskelStörungen

(Network of Expertise for Immobilisation-induced Muscle Disorders)

More about KNIMS

We research and treat muscle
disorders caused by immobilisation.

Muscle wasting and weakness are becoming increasingly prominent fields of study in medicine. In many cases, this is partly due to lack of exercise and inadequate training. The aim of the Network of Expertise for Immobilisation-induced Muscle Disorders (Kompetenz Netzwerk Immobilisationsbedingte Muskel Störungen; KNIMS) and its activities is to bring together active clinicians and scientists working on the relevant fundamental research and to offer a platform for discussing the diagnosis and treatment of immobilisation-induced muscle disorders.

Specific pathologies include:

Immobilisation …


... due to bedriddenness

especially among older patients, who require care as a result


... due to restraint

as a result of plaster casts or orthosis


... due to dysfunction

z.B. e.g. paraplegia


... in space

due to lack of gravity

Our objective

Humans have evolved as a physically active species within Earth’s gravitational field. As a result, our bodies require a minimal level of muscle contraction and mechanical stress. Muscle activity below critical levels will lead to deconditioning and a loss of physical function that may go as far as to cause frailty and a loss of autonomy. As such, health problems and the loss of independence are major issues for society. KNIMS researchers are looking to identify the mechanisms underlying immobilisation-induced muscle disorders. The aim is to develop and apply improved, evidence-based and increasingly customised interventions to counteract such muscle disorders in different patient groups and across a range of settings.
Here is a patient talking about immobilisation in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, from a report by the Tagesschau (German):

Events and publications

6 March 2021

Third KNIMS Annual Conference
Cologne 6 March 2021

Download the
Conference proceedings as PDF

More information
6–7 March 2020

Second KNIMS Annual Conference
Cologne 6–7 March 2020

Muscle wasting and weakness are becoming increasingly prominent fields of study in medicine. In many cases, this is partially due to lack of exercise and inadequate training. Up until now, there has never been an expert panel to discuss diagnostics and treatment of immobilisation-induced muscular disorders. The aim of the event is to forge scientific and practical connections between clinicians and scientists conducting fundamental research by creating a network.


Friday 6 March 2020

12:30 Registration
13:30 Jörn Rittweger: Welcome and introduction: What is the purpose of KNIMS?

Session 1

Chairs: Christina Stark and Rolf Schröder

13:45 Henning Wackerhage: Muscularity, leanness and metabolic health: how can we explain the association of these three phenotypes?
14:15 Christoph Clemen: Impact of acute and chronic exercise on normal and diseased skeletal muscle tissue
14:30 Ludwig Sachs: AuXoCise: Off-the-peg muscles? A report from real-life practice on a strength-training method without weights
14:45 Kenneth Dyar: Transcriptional programming of rhythmic metabolism by the skeletal muscle circadian clock

Session 2

Chairs: Henning Wackerhage and Sebastian Gehlert

15:45 Sarah Michély: Contraction-related muscle fascicle dynamics in master athletes between 35 and 95 years of age
16:00 Sebastian Bohm: Exercises of dynamic stability under unstable conditions elicit fast improvements of strength and balance ability in older adults

16:15 Christina Stark: Physiotherapy in Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis – a study protocol
16:30 Gaspar Epro: Triceps surae muscle-tendon unit adaptability in old age: a 1.5 year resistance training intervention
16:45 Marta Murgia: Single fiber proteomics as a discovery tool for muscle plasticity

Saturday 7 March 2020

Session 3

Chairs: Wilhelm Bloch and Jochen Zange

08:30 Serhan Kara: Muscle function in adult patients with x-linked hypophosphatemia
08:45 Kyriakos Martakis: Quantification of muscle tone in children with spastic cerebral palsy: a study protocol
09:00 Siegfried Labeit: Small-molecules directed to the titin filament as a potential novel strategy to attenuate muscle stress response pathways and modulate strain responses
09:30 Jule Heieis: Atrophy of thigh muscles in elite mountaineers after two weeks of simulated 7000m altitude
09:45 Gina Thot: Adaptive Response in Intra-Muscular Connective Tissue: Endomysium Content of Soleus Muscle is Altered during Long-Term Immobilisation in Humans
10:00 Martin Flück: Atrophy and lipid accumulation of rotator cuff muscle subsequent to tenotomy are distinct degenerative processes: Lessons for clinical interventions
10:15 Christina Stark: Pitfalls in clinical physiotherapy studies and how to overcome them
10:30 Sebastian Gehlert and Jörn Rittweger: First draft of the KNIMS phased approach

11:00 Discussion

12:00 End

8–9 March 2019

First KNIMS Annual Conference
Cologne 8–9 March 2019

Download the
Conference proceedings as PDF

More information

Organisational team

Alexandra Noll
German Aerospace Center, Cologne

Jonas Böcker
German Aerospace Center, Cologne
Prof. Dr.
Jörn Rittweger
German Aerospace Center, Cologne

Dr. Christina Stark
University Hospital Cologne
Prof. Dr.
Henning Wackerhage
Technical University of Munich

Friederike Wütscher
German Aerospace Center, Cologne

Scientific Advisory Board

Univ.-Prof. Dr.
Wilhelm Bloch
German Sport University, Cologne
Prof. Dr.
Dieter Blottner
Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Prof. Dr.
Christoph Clemen
University of Cologne,
German Aerospace Center, Cologne
Prof. Dr.
Michael Drey
University Hospital of Munich (LMU)
Univ.-Prof. Dr.
Sebastian Gehlert
Institute of Sports Science, University of Hildesheim

Dr. Frank Jacobsen
Bergmannsheil University Hospital,
Ruhr University Bochum
Prof. Dr.
Eckhard Schönau
University Hospital Cologne,
UniReha GmbH, Cologne
Prof. Dr.
Benedikt Schoser
University Hospital of Munich (LMU)
Prof. Dr.
Rolf Schröder
Universitätsklinikum Erlangen
Univ.-Prof. Dr.
Simone Spuler
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine
Prof. Dr.
Werner Stenzel
Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin