COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

A comparison of the biomechanical effects of valgus knee braces and lateral wedged insoles in patients with knee osteoarthritis

Richard K Jones, Christopher J Nester, Jim D Richards, Winston Y Kim, David S Johnson, Sanjiv Jari, Philip Laxton, Sarah F Tyson
Gait & Posture 2013, 37 (3): 368-72
22920242
Increases in the external knee adduction moment (EKAM) have been associated with increased mechanical load at the knee and progression of knee osteoarthritis. Valgus knee braces and lateral wedged insoles are common approaches to reducing this loading; however no study has directly compared the biomechanical and clinical effects of these two treatments in patients with medial tibiofemoral osteoarthritis. A cross-over randomised design was used where each intervention was worn by 28 patients for a two week period. Pre- and post-intervention gait kinematic/kinetic data and clinical outcomes were collected to evaluate the biomechanical and clinical effects on the knee joint. The valgus knee brace and the lateral wedged insole significantly increased walking speed, reduced the early stance EKAM by 7% and 12%, and the knee adduction angular impulse by 8.6 and 16.1% respectively. The lateral wedged insole significantly reduced the early stance EKAM compared to the valgus knee brace (p=0.001). The valgus knee brace significantly reduced the knee varus angle compared to the baseline and lateral wedged insole. Improvements in pain and function subscales were comparable for the valgus knee brace and lateral wedged insole. There were no significant differences between the two treatments in any of the clinical outcomes; however the lateral wedged insoles demonstrated greater levels of acceptance by patients. This is the first study to biomechanically compare these two treatments, and demonstrates that given the potential role of knee loading in osteoarthritis progression, that both treatments reduce this but lateral wedge insoles appear to have a greater effect.

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