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J Orthop Res. 1997 Jul;15(4):629-35.

Gait compensations in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip and their relationship to pain and passive hip motion.

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Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.


This study related mechanisms of gait compensations to the level of pain and to limitations in passive motion in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip. Joint motion, moments, and intersegmental forces were calculated for 19 patients with unilateral osteoarthritis of the hip (12 men and seven women) and for a group of normal subjects (12 men and seven women) with a similar age distribution. The patients who had osteoarthritis walked with a decreased dynamic range of motion (17 +/- 4 degrees) of the hip and with a hesitation or reversal in the direction of the sagittal plane motion as they extended the hip. The patients with a hesitation or reversal in motion had a greater loss in the range of motion of the hip during gait (p < 0.004) and a greater passive flexion contracture (p < 0.022) than those with a smooth pattern of hip motion. This alteration in the pattern of motion was interpreted as a mechanism to increase effective extension of the hip during stance through increased anterior pelvic tilt and lumbar lordosis. The patients who had osteoarthritis of the hip walked with significantly decreased external extension, adduction, and internal and external rotation moments (p < 0.008). The decreased extension moment was significantly correlated with an increased level of pain (R = 0.78; p < 0.001). This finding suggests that decreasing muscle forces (hip flexors) may be one mechanism used to adapt to pain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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