Effect of end-stage hip, knee, and ankle osteoarthritis on walking mechanics

Daniel Schmitt, Alexander Vap, Robin M Queen
Gait & Posture 2015, 42 (3): 373-9
This study tested the hypothesis that the presence of isolated ankle (A-OA; N=30), knee (K-OA; N=20), or hip (H-OA; N=30) osteoarthritis (OA) compared to asymptomatic controls (N=15) would lead to mechanical changes in the affected joint but also in all other lower limb joints and gait overall. Stride length, stance and swing times, as well as joint angles and moments at the hip, knee, and ankle were derived from 3-D kinematic and kinetic data collected from seven self-selected speed walking trial. Values were compared across groups using a 1×4 ANCOVA, covarying for walking speed. With walking speed controlled, the results indicated a reduction in hip and knee extension and ankle plantar flexion in accordance with the joint affected. In addition, OA in one joint had strong effects on other joints. In both H-OA and K-OA groups the hip never passed into extension, and A-OA subjects significantly changed hip kinematics to compensate for lack of plantar flexion. Finally, OA in any joint led to lower peak vertical forces as well as extension and plantar flexion moments compared to controls. The presence of end-stage OA at various lower extremity joints results in compensatory gait mechanics that cause movement alterations throughout the lower extremity. This work reinforces our understanding of the complex interaction of joints of the lower limb and the importance of focusing on the mechanics of the entire lower limb when considering gait disability and potential interventions in patients with isolated OA.

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