We examined the relationship between activity, peak load, medial to lateral load distribution, and flexion angle at peak load for activities of daily living. An instrumented knee prosthesis was used to measure knee joint force simultaneously with motion capture during walking, chair sit to stand and stand to sit, stair ascending and descending, squatting from a standing position, and golf swings. The maximum total compressive load at the knee was highest during stair ascending and descending and lowest during rising from a chair. Maximum total compressive load occurred at substantially different flexion angles ranging from 8.5 degrees during walking to 91.8 degrees during squatting. For all activities, total compressive load exceeded 2 times body weight, and for most activities 2.5 times body weight. Most activities placed a greater load on the medial compartment than the lateral compartment. Activities were grouped into three categories: high cycle loading (walk), high load (stair ascent, descent, and golf), and high flexion angle (chair sit to stand/stand to sit, and squat). The results demonstrate that the forces and motion sustained by the knee are highly activity-dependent and that the unique loading characteristics for specific activities should be considered for the design of functional and robust total knee replacements, as well as for rehabilitation programs for patients with knee osteoarthritis or following total knee arthroplasty.
(c) 2008 Orthopaedic Research Society