Gender differences in joint biomechanics during walking: normative study in young adults

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. Jan-Feb 1998;77(1):2-7. doi: 10.1097/00002060-199801000-00002.


The effect of gender on specific joint biomechanics during gait has been largely unexplored. Given the perceived, subjective, and temporal differences in walking between genders, we hypothesized that quantitative analysis would reveal specific gender differences in joint biomechanics as well. Sagittal kinematic (joint motion) and kinetic (joint torque and power) data from the lower limbs during walking were collected and analyzed in 99 young adult subjects (49 females), aged 20 to 40 years, using an optoelectronic motion analysis and force platform system. Kinetic data were normalized for both height and weight. Female and male data were compared graphically and statistically to assess differences in all major peak joint kinematic and kinetic values. Females had significantly greater hip flexion and less knee extension before initial contact, greater knee flexion moment in pre-swing, and greater peak mechanical joint power absorption at the knee in pre-swing (P < 0.0019 for each parameter). Other differences were noted (P < 0.05) that were not statistically significant when accounting for multiple comparisons. These gender differences may provide new insights into walking dynamics and may be important for both clinical and research studies in motivating the development of separate biomechanical reference databases for males and females.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Adult
  • Ankle Joint / physiology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Databases as Topic
  • Electronics / instrumentation
  • Ergometry
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology
  • Hip Joint / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Male
  • Movement
  • Optics and Photonics / instrumentation
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Time Factors
  • Torque
  • Walking / physiology*
  • Weight-Bearing