The biomechanical effects of focused muscle training on medial knee loads in OA of the knee: a pilot, proof of concept study

J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2010 Jun;10(2):166-73.


Background: High dynamic loads of the medial knee are associated with tibiofemoral osteoarthritis (OA) severity and progression. The lower extremity acts as an integrated kinetic unit, thus treatments targeting adjacent segments may promote reductions in the loading of a symptomatic knee. This study examined the biomechanical effects of a lower extremity exercise regimen, emphasizing training of hip abductor musculature, on dynamic knee loads in individuals with knee OA.

Methods: Six subjects with medial compartment knee OA participated in a proof of concept study of a four-week exercise program specifically targeting the hip abductor musculature in combination with traditional quadriceps and hamstring training. Assessments included gait analyses to measure the external knee adduction moment, a surrogate marker of medial knee joint loading as well as WOMAC questionnaires and strength evaluations.

Results: All subjects demonstrated a decrease in their external knee adduction moment, with an average decrease of 9% (p<0.05) following the exercise intervention. There was a 78% (p<0.05) decrease in WOMAC knee pain scores.

Conclusions: These results suggest that targeting hip, rather than only knee musculature, may represent an effective biomechanically-based treatment option for medial knee OA.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Gait
  • Humans
  • Knee / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / therapy*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain Management
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quadriceps Muscle / physiology*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology