Send to

Choose Destination
Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2000 Aug;15(7):522-7.

The relationship between ankle plantar flexor muscle moments and knee compressive forces in subjects with and without pain.

Author information

The Ohio State University College of Medicine, OH, Columbus, USA.


The purpose of this study was to compare the compressive knee joint reaction force and ankle plantar flexor muscle moment during the terminal stance phase in symptomatic osteoarthritic and non-symptomatic subjects.


The study design was a comparative investigation of walking patterns.


Patients with knee osteoarthritic symptoms may employ altered gait patterns to reduce the loading of painful joints. Speculation is that decreased ankle plantar flexor moments in the terminal stance phase may be an attempt to minimize compressive knee joint reaction forces.


Twenty community-dwelling men (52-83 years old), ten with knee osteoarthritis and ten non-symptomatic, were studied while walking across a walkway containing two force plates at a comfortable speed. Retroreflective markers were placed in accordance with the Helen Hayes marker system and recorded with six 120 Hz cameras. Three-dimensional kinematics and kinetics were computed.


Group means for gait velocity, peak ankle plantar flexor moment and compressive knee joint reaction force were significantly less for the osteoarthritic group relative to the non-symptomatic group. When accounting for the decreased velocity in the osteoarthritic group, however, no group differences were observed. There were significant correlations between all three gait parameters (r>0.75), but peak ankle plantar flexor moment was the greatest predictor of compressive knee joint reaction force.


While no group differences were found for compressive knee joint reaction forces when accounting for gait velocity, it appears that subjects with osteoarthritis utilize gait velocity as a mechanism to reduce compressive knee joint reaction forces. RelevanceAn understanding of compressive knee joint reaction forces is important to the understanding of the disabling effects of knee osteoarthritis on physical function and to the understanding of appropriate and safe interventions to improve not only global parameters (e.g., pain, gait velocity), but also to "re-program" the locomotor pattern to develop "normal" muscle moments without increasing compressive knee joint reaction forces to painful levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center