Combined effects of a valgus knee brace and lateral wedge foot orthotic on the external knee adduction moment in patients with varus gonarthrosis

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2013 Jan;94(1):103-12. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2012.09.004. Epub 2012 Sep 17.


Objective: To test the hypothesis that a custom-fit valgus knee brace and custom-made lateral wedge foot orthotic will have greatest effects on decreasing the external knee adduction moment during gait when used concurrently.

Design: Proof-of-concept, single test session, crossover trial.

Setting: Biomechanics laboratory within a tertiary care center.

Participants: Patients (n=16) with varus alignment and knee osteoarthritis (OA) primarily affecting the medial compartment of the tibiofemoral joint (varus gonarthrosis).

Interventions: Custom-fit valgus knee brace and custom-made full-length lateral wedge foot orthotic. Amounts of valgus angulation and wedge height were tailored to each patient to ensure comfort.

Main outcome measures: The external knee adduction moment (% body weight [BW]*height [Ht]), frontal plane lever arm (cm), and ground reaction force (N/kg), determined from 3-dimensional gait analysis completed under 4 randomized conditions: (1) control (no knee brace, no foot orthotic), (2) knee brace, (3) foot orthotic, and (4) knee brace and foot orthotic.

Results: The reduction in knee adduction moment was greatest when concurrently using the knee brace and foot orthotic (effect sizes ranged from 0.3 to 0.4). The mean decrease in first peak knee adduction moment compared with control was .36% BW*Ht (95% confidence interval [CI], -.66 to -.07). This was accompanied by a mean decrease in frontal plane lever arm of .59cm (95% CI, -.94 to -.25).

Conclusions: These findings suggest that using a custom-fit knee brace and custom-made foot orthotic concurrently can produce a greater overall reduction in the knee adduction moment, through combined effects in decreasing the frontal plane lever arm.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Braces*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Foot
  • Gait / physiology
  • Humans
  • Joint Deformities, Acquired / physiopathology*
  • Joint Deformities, Acquired / rehabilitation*
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthotic Devices*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / rehabilitation*
  • Prosthesis Fitting
  • Treatment Outcome