Knee joint loading, as measured by the knee adduction moment (KAM), has been implicated in the pathogenesis of knee osteoarthritis (OA). Given that the KAM can only currently be accurately measured in the laboratory setting with sophisticated and expensive equipment, its utility in the clinical setting is limited. This study aimed to determine the ability of a combination of four clinical measures to predict KAM values. Three-dimensional motion analysis was used to calculate the peak KAM at a self-selected walking speed in 47 consecutive individuals with medial compartment knee OA and varus malalignment. Clinical predictors included: body mass; tibial angle measured using an inclinometer; walking speed; and visually observed trunk lean toward the affected limb during the stance phase of walking. Multiple linear regression was performed to predict KAM magnitudes using the four clinical measures. A regression model including body mass (41% explained variance), tibial angle (17% explained variance), and walking speed (9% explained variance) explained a total of 67% of variance in the peak KAM. Our study demonstrates that a set of measures easily obtained in the clinical setting (body mass, tibial alignment, and walking speed) can help predict the KAM in people with medial knee OA. Identifying those patients who are more likely to experience high medial knee loads could assist clinicians in deciding whether load-modifying interventions may be appropriate for patients, whilst repeated assessment of joint load could provide a mechanism to monitor disease progression or success of treatment.
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