© 2015 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 33:1054–1060, 2015.

Contribution of tibiofemoral joint contact to net loads at the knee in gait

Jonathan P. Walter Nuray Korkmaz Benjamin J. Fregly Marcus G. Pandy

Inverse dynamics analysis is commonly used to estimate the net loads at a joint during human motion. Most lower‐limb models of movement represent the knee as a simple hinge joint when calculating muscle forces. This approach is limited because it neglects the contributions from tibiofemoral joint contact forces and may therefore lead to errors in estimated muscle forces. The aim of this study was to quantify the contributions of tibiofemoral joint contact loads to the net knee loads calculated from inverse dynamics for multiple subjects and multiple gait patterns. Tibiofemoral joint contact loads were measured in four subjects with instrumented implants as each subject walked at their preferred speed (normal gait) and performed prescribed gait modifications designed to treat medial knee osteoarthritis. Tibiofemoral contact loads contributed substantially to the net knee extension and knee adduction moments in normal gait with mean values of 16% and 54%, respectively. These findings suggest that knee‐contact kinematics and loads should be included in lower‐limb models of movement for more accurate determination of muscle forces. The results of this study may be used to guide the development of more realistic lower‐limb models that account for the effects of tibiofemoral joint contact at the knee.

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