Gender differences exist in osteoarthritic gait

Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2007 May;22(4):400-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2006.11.006. Epub 2007 Jan 18.


Background: Knee osteoarthritis is 2-3 times more prevalent in females than males. Biomechanical differences in gait may play a role in this gender predisposition. The purpose of this study was to determine if there are gender-based biomechanical differences in the gait patterns of people with knee osteoarthritis.

Methods: Three-dimensional gait analysis was performed on healthy (18 males and 24 females) subjects and patients with moderate knee osteoarthritis (24 males and 15 females). Kinematics and kinetics at the hip, knee and ankle were calculated. Variables including anthropometrics, stride characteristics, strength, pain, stiffness, function and radiographic disease severity were also quantified. Multivariate statistical techniques and analysis of variance were used to test for main disease effects, main gender effects and disease vs. gender interactions.

Findings: A significant interaction effect between gender and disease was found in the knee flexion angle and the knee moments in the sagittal, frontal and transverse planes. In each of these measures the females exhibited different biomechanics with osteoarthritis, while the osteoarthritic males maintained the same biomechanics as healthy males. This interaction between gender and osteoarthritis was not associated with differences in anthropometrics, stride characteristics, strength, pain, stiffness, function or radiographic disease severity between the populations.

Interpretation: This study has found gait pattern differences between the genders in the osteoarthritic patients that were not apparent in the healthy subjects. This suggests that the biomechanics associated with knee osteoarthritis are gender dependent. Therefore, gender specific design of biomechanical interventions to slow the progression of osteoarthritis should be explored.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology*
  • Sex Factors