Introduction: Meniscal injury is a risk factor for the development and progression of knee osteoarthritis, yet little is known about risk factors for meniscal pathology. Joint loading mediated via gait parameters may be associated with meniscal tears, and determining whether such an association exists was the aim of this study.
Methods: Three-dimensional Vicon gait analyses were performed on the dominant knee of 20 non-osteoarthritic women, and the peak external knee adduction moment during early and late stance was determined. The degree of foot rotation was also examined when the knee adductor moment peaked during early and late stance. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to determine the presence and severity of meniscal lesions in the dominant knee.
Results: The presence (P = 0.04) and severity (P = 0.01) of medial meniscal tears were positively associated with the peak external knee adduction moment during early stance while a trend for late stance was observed (P = 0.07). They were also associated with increasing degrees of internal foot rotation during late stance, independent of the magnitude of the peak external knee adduction moment occurring at that time (P = 0.03). During level walking among healthy women, the presence and severity of medial meniscal tears were positively associated with the peak external knee adduction moment. Moreover, the magnitude of internal foot rotation was associated with the presence and severity of medial meniscal lesions, independent of the peak knee adductor moment during late stance.
Conclusion: These data may suggest that gait parameters may be associated with meniscal damage, although longitudinal studies will be required to clarify whether gait abnormalities predate meniscal lesions, or vice versa, and therefore whether modification of gait patterns may be helpful.