Biomechanical changes at the hip, knee, and ankle joints during gait are associated with knee osteoarthritis severity

J Orthop Res. 2008 Mar;26(3):332-41. doi: 10.1002/jor.20496.


Mechanical factors have been implicated in the progression of knee osteoarthritis (OA). Understanding how these factors change as the condition progresses would elucidate their role and help in developing interventions that could delay the progress of knee OA. In this cross-sectional study, we identified kinematic and kinetic variables at the hip, knee, and ankle joints that change between three clinically distinct levels of knee OA disease severity: asymptomatic, moderate OA, and severe OA. The severity level was based on a combined radiographic/symptomatic clinical decision for treatment with (severe) or without (moderate) total knee replacement surgery. Gait variables that changed between groups were categorized as: those that differed between the asymptomatic group and both OA groups, those that differed between the asymptomatic group and the severe OA group only, or those that changed progressively, that is, the asymptomatic differed from the moderate OA, and the moderate OA differed from the severe OA group. Changes seen in both OA subject groups compared to asymptomatic included increased mid-stance knee adduction moments, decreased peak knee flexion moments, decreased peak hip adduction moments, and decreased peak hip extension moments. Changes found only in the severe knee OA group included multiple kinematic and kinetic differences at the hip, knee, and ankle joints. Gait differences that progressed with OA severity included decreased stance phase knee flexion angles, decreased early stance knee extension moments, decreased peak stance phase hip internal rotation moments, and decreased peak ankle dorsiflexion moments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ankle Joint / physiopathology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Gait*
  • Hip Joint / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology*
  • Severity of Illness Index