Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 28:1348–1354, 2010

Decreased knee adduction moment does not guarantee decreased medial contact force during gait

Jonathan P. Walter Darryl D. D'Lima Clifford W. Colwell Jr Benjamin J. Fregly

Excessive contact force is believed to contribute to the development of medial compartment knee osteoarthritis. The external knee adduction moment (KAM) has been identified as a surrogate measure for medial contact force during gait, with an abnormally large peak value being linked to increased pain and rate of disease progression. This study used in vivo gait data collected from a subject with a force‐measuring knee implant to assess whether KAM decreases accurately predict corresponding decreases in medial contact force. Changes in both quantities generated via gait modification were analyzed statistically relative to the subject’s normal gait. The two gait modifications were a “medial thrust” gait involving knee medialization during stance phase and a “walking pole” gait involving use of bilateral walking poles. Reductions in the first (largest) peak of the KAM (32–33%) did not correspond to reductions in the first peak of the medial contact force. In contrast, reductions in the second peak and angular impulse of the KAM (15–47%) corresponded to reductions in the second peak and impulse of the medial contact force (12–42%). Calculated reductions in both KAM peaks were highly sensitive to rotation of the shank reference frame about the superior–inferior axis of the shank. Both peaks of medial contact force were best predicted by a combination of peak values of the external KAM and peak absolute values of the external knee flexion moment (R2 = 0.93). Future studies that evaluate the effectiveness of gait modifications for offloading the medial compartment of the knee should consider the combined effect of these two knee moments.

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