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Design of patient-specific gait modifications for knee osteoarthritis rehabilitation

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5 Author(s)

Gait modification is a nonsurgical approach for reducing the external knee adduction torque in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA). The magnitude of the first adduction torque peak in particular is strongly associated with knee OA progression. While toeing out has been shown to reduce the second peak, no clinically realistic gait modifications have been identified that effectively reduce both peaks simultaneously. This study predicts novel patient-specific gait modifications that achieve this goal without changing the foot path. The modified gait motion was designed for a single patient with knee OA using dynamic optimization of a patient-specific, full-body gait model. The cost function minimized the knee adduction torque subject to constraints limiting how much the new gait motion could deviate from the patient's normal gait motion. The optimizations predicted a ldquomedial-thrustrdquo gait pattern that reduced the first adduction torque peak between 32% and 54% and the second peak between 34% and 56%. The new motion involved three synergistic kinematic changes: slightly decreased pelvis obliquity, slightly increased leg flexion, and slightly increased pelvis axial rotation. After gait retraining, the patient achieved adduction torque reductions of 39% to 50% in the first peak and 37% to 55% in the second one. These reductions are comparable to those reported after high tibial osteotomy surgery. The associated kinematic changes were consistent with the predictions except for pelvis obliquity, which showed little change. This study demonstrates that it is feasible to design novel patient-specific gait modifications with potential clinical benefit using dynamic optimization of patient-specific, full-body gait models. Further investigation is needed to assess the extent to which similar gait modifications may be effective for other patients with knee OA.

Published in:

Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:54 ,  Issue: 9 )