Body mass index affects knee joint mechanics during gait differently with and without moderate knee osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2012 Nov;20(11):1234-42. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2012.08.004. Epub 2012 Aug 16.


Objective: Obesity is a highly cited risk factor for knee osteoarthritis (OA), but its role in knee OA pathogenesis and progression is not as clear. Excess weight may contribute to an increased mechanical burden and altered dynamic movement and loading patterns at the knee. The objective of this study was to examine the interacting role of moderate knee OA disease presence and obesity on knee joint mechanics during gait.

Methods: Gait analysis was performed on 104 asymptomatic and 140 individuals with moderate knee OA. Each subject group was divided into three body mass categories based on body mass index (BMI): healthy weight (BMI<25), overweight (25≤BMI≤30), and obese (BMI>30). Three-dimensional knee joint angles and net external knee joint moments were calculated and waveform principal component analysis (PCA) was applied to extract major patterns of variability from each. PC scores for major patterns were compared between groups using a two-factor ANOVA.

Results: Significant BMI main effects were found in the pattern of the knee adduction moment, the knee flexion moment, and the knee rotation moment during gait. Two interaction effects between moderate OA disease presence and BMI were also found that described different changes in the knee flexion moment and the knee flexion angle with increased BMI with and without knee OA.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that increased BMI is associated with different changes in biomechanical patterns of the knee joint during gait depending on the presence of moderate knee OA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / diagnosis
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / epidemiology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology*
  • Radiography
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Walking / physiology
  • Weight-Bearing