JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Determining the optimal gait modification strategy for patients with knee osteoarthritis: Trunk lean or medial thrust?

BACKGROUND: The gait modification strategies Trunk Lean and Medial Thrust have been shown to reduce the external knee adduction moment (EKAM) in patients with knee osteoarthritis which could contribute to reduced progression of the disease. Which strategy is most optimal differs between individuals, but the underlying mechanism that causes this remains unknown.

RESEARCH QUESTION: Which gait parameters determine the optimal gait modification strategy for individual patients with knee osteoarthritis?

METHODS: Forty-seven participants with symptomatic medial knee osteoarthritis underwent 3-dimensional motion analysis during comfortable gait and with two gait modification strategies: Medial Thrust and Trunk Lean. Kinematic and kinetic variables were calculated. Participants were then categorized into one of the two subgroups, based on the modification strategy that reduced the EKAM the most for them. Multiple logistic regression analysis with backward elimination was used to investigate the predictive nature of dynamic parameters obtained during comfortable walking on the optimal modification gait strategy.

RESULTS: For 68.1 % of the participants, Trunk Lean was the optimal strategy in reducing the EKAM. Baseline characteristics, kinematics and kinetics did not differ significantly between subgroups during comfortable walking. Changes to frontal trunk and tibia angles correlated significantly with EKAM reduction during the Trunk Lean and Medial Thrust strategies, respectively. Regression analysis showed that MT is likely optimal when the frontal tibia angle range of motion and peak knee flexion angle in early stance during comfortable walking are high (R2 Nagelkerke = 0.12).

SIGNIFICANCE: Our regression model based solely on kinematic parameters from comfortable walking contained characteristics of the frontal tibia angle and knee flexion angle. As the model explains only 12.3 % of variance, clinical application does not seem feasible. Direct assessment of kinetics seems to be the most optimal strategy for selecting the most optimal gait modification strategy for individual patients with knee osteoarthritis.

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