The influence of sex and obesity on gait biomechanics in people with severe knee osteoarthritis scheduled for arthroplasty

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Sex and body mass may influence knee biomechanics associated with poor total knee arthroplasty (TKA) outcomes for knee osteoarthritis (OA). This study aimed to determine if gait differed between men and women, and overweight and class I obese patients with severe knee OA awaiting TKA.


34 patients with severe knee OA (average age 70.0 (SD 7.2) years, body mass index 30.3 (4.1 kg/m2)) were recruited from a TKA waiting list. Three-dimensional gait analysis was performed at self-selected walking speed. Comparisons were made between men and women, and overweight (body mass index (BMI) 25.0–29.9 kg/m2) and class I obese (BMI 30.0–34.9 kg/m2) participants. Biomechanical outcomes included absolute and body size-adjusted peak knee adduction moment (KAM), KAM impulse, peak knee flexion moment, as well as peak knee flexion and varus-valgus angles, peak varus-valgus thrust, and peak vertical ground reaction force (GRF).


Men had a higher absolute peak KAM, KAM impulse and peak GRF compared to women, and this sex-difference in frontal plane moments remained after adjusting for body size. However, when additionally adjusting for static knee alignment, differences disappeared. Knee biomechanics were similar between obesity groups after adjusting for the greater body weight of those with class I obesity.


Men had greater KAM and KAM impulse even after adjustment for body size; however adjustment for their more varus knees removed this difference. Obesity group did not influence knee joint kinematics or moments. This suggests sex- and obesity-differences in these variables may not be associated with TKA outcomes.

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