Gait adaptations in patients with chronic posterior instability of the knee

Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2002 Mar;17(3):227-33. doi: 10.1016/s0268-0033(02)00002-5.


Objective: A retrospective analysis was performed to assess gait in individuals with a long history of posterior knee instability.

Design: Descriptive study.

Background: There are few studies in the literature concerning evaluation of the biomechanics of the knee in patients with knee posterior instability.

Methods: Nine individuals with posterior knee instability and a matched control group of uninjured subjects were tested in regards to knee kinematics and kinetics while walking and ascending and descending stairs. The mean follow up time for the individuals with posterior instability was 11.1 years. Individual satisfaction with the knee was measured by having participants complete the Flandry (also known as Hughston Clinic) self-assessment questionnaire.

Results: It was found that patients with knee posterior instability who indicated a higher level of satisfaction on the Flandry score walked in a manner that demonstrated greater peak knee extensor torque during stance phase, while less satisfied patients with knee posterior instability demonstrated lower peak knee extensor torque. There was a significant correlation between the self-assessment score and the peak knee extensor torque during level walking (P=0.003). During stair ascent and descent, patients with posterior instability averaged lower knee extensor torque and power than the control subjects, but those differences were only statistically significant in power while descending stairs (P=0.048).

Conclusions: Individuals with chronic knee posterior instability modify their gait, and the adaptation can be predicted based upon the individuals self-assessment of their knee using the Flandry questionnaire.

Relevance: These data suggest that gait retraining may be a valuable addition to the traditional muscle strengthening programs, which are commonly used during conservative management of knee posterior instability.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / etiology
  • Joint Instability / physiopathology*
  • Knee Injuries / complications
  • Knee Joint*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Probability
  • Reference Values
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors