Hip flexor muscle dysfunction during walking at self-selected and fast speed in patients with aortoiliac peripheral arterial disease

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Abstract

Objective:

Intermittent claudication aggravates physical function and is associated with an increased risk of death in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Previous studies on kinetic parameters (joint moment and power) of lower limbs in these patients have largely focused on the decline in the ankle plantar flexor moment and power at self-selected (SS) walking speed, which may not be an optimal condition to induce claudication pain. In the present study, we investigated the abnormalities in joint kinetic parameters in patients with PAD at both SS and at fast walking speeds.

Methods:

We recruited 16 patients with aortoiliac PAD (4 unilateral and 12 bilateral) and 10 healthy controls. The participants were instructed to walk at SS and fast speeds along a 7-meter walkway embedded with a force plate. Spatiotemporal parameters and joint kinetic parameters of the lower limbs during the stance phase were recorded using a three-dimensional motion analysis device.

Results:

Compared with the controls, patients with PAD showed a significant reduction in their walking speed, step length, stride length, and cadence. Further, a reduction in peak hip flexor moment at fast walking speed and in peak hip flexor generation power was observed in both modes of walking. However, no significant between-group differences were observed for the peak ankle plantar flexor moment or power at either walking speed. Multiple regression analysis showed peak hip flexor generation power was a strong contributor to reduction at both SS and fast walking speeds in patients with PAD.

Conclusions:

Patients with aortoiliac PAD walk slowly and show reduced kinetic parameters of the hip joint at both SS and fast walking speeds. Our results suggest that hip flexor muscles may be a useful target for exercise training in patients with aortoiliac PAD.

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