Knee and hip kinetics during normal stair climbing

Gait Posture. 2002 Aug;16(1):31-7. doi: 10.1016/s0966-6362(01)00201-6.


Understanding joint kinetics during activities of daily living furthers our understanding of the factors involved in joint pathology and the effects of treatment. In this study, we examined hip and knee joint kinetics during stair climbing in 35 young healthy subjects using a subject-specific knee model to estimate bone-on-bone tibiofemoral and patello-femoral joint contact forces. The net knee forces were below one body weight while the peak posterior-anterior contact force was close to one body weight. The peak distal-proximal contact force was on average 3 times body weight and could be as high as 6 times body weight. These contact forces occurred at a high degree of knee flexion where there is a smaller joint contact area resulting in high contact stresses. The peak knee adduction moment was 0.42 (0.15) Nm/kg while the flexion moment was 1.16 (0.24) Nm/kg. Similar peak moment values, but different curve profiles, were found for the hip. The hip and knee posterior-anterior shear forces and the knee flexion moment were higher during stair climbing than during level walking. The most striking difference between stair ascent and level walking was that the peak patello-femoral contact force was 8 times higher during stair ascent. These data can be used as baseline measures in pathology studies, as input to theoretical joint models, and as input to mechanical joint simulators.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Body Weight
  • Female
  • Hip Joint / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Male
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Walking / physiology