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Prosthet Orthot Int. 2014 Dec;38(6):481-91. doi: 10.1177/0309364613513297. Epub 2013 Dec 10.

Effect of an ankle-foot orthosis on knee joint mechanics: a novel conservative treatment for knee osteoarthritis.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Biomechanics and Orthopedics, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany
  • 2Institute of Biomechanics and Orthopedics, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany.



Several conservative treatments for medial knee osteoarthritis such as knee orthosis and laterally wedged insoles have been shown to reduce the load in the medial knee compartment. However, those treatments also present limitations such as patient compliance and inconsistent results regarding the treatment success.


To analyze the effect of an ankle-foot orthosis on the knee adduction moment and knee joint alignment in the frontal plane in subjects with knee varus alignment.


Controlled laboratory study, repeated measurements.


In total, 14 healthy subjects with knee varus alignment were analyzed in five different conditions: without orthotic, with laterally wedged insoles, and with an ankle-foot orthosis in three different adjustments. Three-dimensional kinetic and kinematic data were collected during gait analysis.


Significant decreases in knee adduction moment, knee lever arm, and joint alignment in the frontal plane were observed with the ankle-foot orthosis in all three different adjustments. No significant differences could be found in any parameter while using the laterally wedged insoles.


The ankle-foot orthosis was effective in reducing the knee adduction moment. The decreases in this parameter seem to be achieved by changing the knee joint alignment and thereby reducing the knee lever arm in the frontal plane.


This study presents a novel approach for reducing the load in the medial knee compartment, which could be developed as a new treatment option for patients with medial knee osteoarthritis.

© The International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics 2013.


Knee osteoarthritis; joint mechanics; knee varus alignment; orthotics

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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