Knee joint torques: A comparison between women and men during barefoot walking
Objective: To determine if knee joint torques, which are likely relevant to the development and, possibly, progression of knee osteoarthritis, are equivalent between genders during natural, barefoot walking. Design: Collected stereophotogrammetric and force platform data during comfortable, barefoot walking. Knee joint torques were plotted and statistically compared between genders using both an unpaired t test (p < .05) and an equivalence test (20% delta). Setting: A gait laboratory. Participants: One hundred ten healthy, nondisabled young women and men. Main Outcome Measures: Four knee joint torque parameters normalized for height and weight: (1) peak and (2) duration of sagittal flexor joint torque from early to midstance, and (3) first and (4) second peak coronal (frontal) varus torque values during the stance period. Results: No statistically significant differences between genders were found, and the values were equivalent between genders for each of the 4 knee joint torque parameters. Conclusion: These findings Support the hypothesis that under similar barefoot conditions women and men have a similar intrinsic biomechanic risk for knee osteoarthritis. Future research to assess the effects of other potential biomechanic factors, such as shoe-wear and activity type, may assist not only in preventing knee joint osteoarthritis, but also in developing new rehabilitative strategies to treat osteoarthritis of the knee. (C) 2000 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.