Creaby, M. W, Hunt, M., Hinman, R. & Bennell, K. (2013). Sagittal plane joint loading is related to knee flexion in osteoarthritic gait. Clinical Biomechanics,28(8), 916-920. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2013.07.013
High mechanical loading has been consistently linked with medial tibiofemoral osteoarthritis, and is considered to play a central role in the pathogenesis of the disease. Evidence from healthy adults indicates that knee flexion kinematics may influence knee load. The purpose of this study therefore, was to investigate the association between knee flexion kinematics and indicators of joint loading during walking (peak moments and vertical ground reaction force), in individuals with medial tibiofemoral osteoarthritis.
In this cross-sectional study, 89 participants with painful medial tibiofemoral osteoarthritis completed three-dimensional walking gait analysis to measure stance phase ground reaction forces, knee joint moments, and knee flexion kinematics.
In stepwise regression, greater knee flexion excursion was associated with higher peak vertical ground reaction force, accounting for 10% of its variance (B = 0.62 [95% CI 0.34, 0.89], P < 0.001). Greater peak knee flexion was associated with a higher flexion moment, accounting for 44% of its variance (B = 0.12 [95% CI 0.09, 0.15], P < 0.001). No association was found between the knee adduction moment and knee flexion kinematics during walking.
Our data suggest that greater knee flexion is associated with higher joint loads in the sagittal plane (i.e. a higher peak knee flexion moment). However, knee flexion kinematics were not associated with the knee adduction moment — a proxy measure of medial compartment knee load. Thus, high knee flexion should be considered an undesirable gait characteristic with respect to knee load in individuals with medial tibiofemoral osteoarthritis.
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