The knee kinematics and kinetics of 139 patients (47 males and 92 females) with Grade II knee osteoarthritis (OA) were measured during level walking, stair ascent and stair descent. There was no significant difference in knee motion between the patients and normal subjects. The patients with knee OA had a significantly reduced internal knee extensor moment compared to normal subjects. This difference reflects the patient's compensation to reduce the knee joint loading. Further, subjects with OA and a higher body mass index have a lower knee extensor moment. The female subjects had significantly greater knee flexion and a greater knee extensor moment. This gender difference may partially explain the increased prevalence of OA in females. Most tests of OA treatments are assessed by criteria that do not reflect functional activities. This study demonstrates that objective gait analysis can be used to document gait adaptations used by patients with knee OA.