Hip, Knee, and Ankle Osteoarthritis Negatively Affects Mechanical Energy Exchange.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Individuals with osteoarthritis (OA) of the lower limb find normal locomotion tiring compared with individuals without OA, possibly because OA of any lower limb joint changes limb mechanics and may disrupt transfer of potential and kinetic energy of the center of mass during walking, resulting in increased locomotor costs. Although recovery has been explored in asymptomatic individuals and in some patient populations, the effect of changes in these gait parameters on center of mass movements and mechanical work in patients with OA in specific joints has not been well examined. The results can be used to inform clinical interventions and rehabilitation that focus on improving energy recovery.


We hypothesized that (1) individuals with end-stage lower extremity OA would exhibit a decrease in walking velocity compared with asymptomatic individuals and that the joint affected with OA would differntially influence walking velocity, (2) individuals with end-stage lower extremity OA would show decreased energy recovery compared with asymptomatic individuals and that individuals with end-stage hip and ankle OA would have greater reductions in recovery than would individuals with end-stage knee OA owing to restrictions in hip and ankle motion, and (3) that differences in the amplitude and congruity of the center of mass would explain the differences in energy recovery that are observed in each population.


Ground reaction forces at a range of self-selected walking speeds were collected from individuals with end-stage radiographic hip OA (n = 27; 14 males, 13 females; average age, 55.6 years; range, 41-70 years), knee OA (n = 20; seven males, 13 females; average age, 61.7 years; range, 49-74 years), ankle OA (n = 30; 14 males, 16 females; average age, 57 years; range, 45-70 years), and asymptomatic individuals (n = 13; eight males, five females; average age, 49.8 years; range, 41-67 years). Participants were all patients with end-stage OA who were scheduled to have joint replacement surgery within 4 weeks of testing. All patients were identified by the orthopaedic surgeon as having end-stage radiographic disease and to be a candidate for joint replacement surgery. Patients were excluded if they had pain at any other lower extremity joint, previous joint replacement surgery, or needed to use an assistive device for ambulation. Patients were enrolled if they met the study inclusion criteria. Our study was comparative and cohorts could be compared with each other, however, the asymptomatic group served to verify our methods and provided a recovery standard with which we could compare our patients. Potential and kinetic energy relationships (% congruity) and energy exchange (% recovery) were calculated. Linear regressions were used to examine the effect of congruity and amplitude of energy fluctuations and walking velocity on % recovery. Analysis of covariance was used to compare energy recovery between groups.


The results of this study support our hypothesis that individuals with OA walk at a slower velocity than asymptomatic individuals (1.4 ± 0.2 m/second, 1.2-1.5 m/second) and that the joint affected by OA also affects walking velocity (p < 0.0001). The cohort with ankle OA (0.9 ± 0.2 m/second, 0.77-0.94 m/second) walked at a slower speed relative to the cohort with hip OA (1.1 ± 0.2 m/second, 0.96-1.1 m/second; p = 0.002). However, when comparing the cohorts with ankle and knee OA (0.9 ± 0.2 m/second, 0.77-0.94 m/second) there was no difference in walking speed (p = 0.16) and the same was true when comparing the cohorts with knee and hip OA (p = 0.14). Differences in energy recovery existed when comparing the OA cohorts with the asymptomatic cohort and when examining differences between the OA cohorts. After adjusting for walking speeds these results showed that asymptomatic individuals (65% ± 3%, 63%-67%) had greater recovery than individuals with hip OA (54% ± 10%, 50%-58%; p = 0.014) and ankle OA (47% ± 13%, 40%-52%; p = 0.002) but were not different compared with individuals with knee OA (57% ± 10%, 53%-62%; p = 0.762). When speed was accounted for, 80% of the variation in recovery not attributable to speed was explained by congruity with only 10% being explained by amplitude.


OA in the hip, knee, or ankle reduces effective exchange of potential and kinetic energy, potentially increasing the muscular work required to control movements of the center of mass.

Clinical relevance

The fatigue and limited physical activity reported in patients with lower extremity OA could be associated with increased mechanical work of the center of mass. Focused gait retraining potentially could improve walking mechanics and decrease fatigue in these patients.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Queen, RM; Sparling, TL; Schmitt, D

Published Date

  • September 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 474 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 2055 - 2063

PubMed ID

  • 27287859

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4965381

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1528-1132

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0009-921X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s11999-016-4921-1


  • eng