Knee extensor and flexor dominant gait patterns increase the knee frontal plane moment during walking

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Abstract

High gait-induced knee frontal plane moment is linked with the development of knee osteoarthritis. Gait patterns across the normal population exhibit large inter-individual variabilities especially at the knee sagittal plane moment profile during loading response and terminal stance phase. However, the effects of different gait patterns on this moment remain unknown. Therefore, we examined whether different gait patterns are associated with atypically high knee frontal plane moments. Profiles of knee joint moments divided a sample of 24 subjects into three subgroups (11, 7, 6) through cluster analysis. Kinetics, kinematics, and spatio-temporal parameters were compared among clusters. Subjects who showed a typical sagittal plane moment pattern (n = 11) had 43% lower first peak of knee frontal plane moment compared to the cluster, which showed the dominance of the knee extensor moment during stance phase (n = 7, p < 0.01). In addition, a typical gait pattern cluster had 44% lower second peak knee frontal plane moment than the cluster, which showed the dominance of the knee flexor moment during the terminal stance phase (n = 6, p < 0.05). These findings indicate that different knee strategies driving gait considerably impact knee loading, suggesting that knee extensor and flexor dominant gait patterns demonstrate atypically high knee frontal plane moments. People in these subgroups may, therefore, be at higher risk of developing knee osteoarthritis.

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