Conservative biomechanical strategies for knee osteoarthritis

  • Reeves N
  • Bowling F
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Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most prevalent forms of this disease, with the medial compartment most commonly affected. The direction of external forces and limb orientation during walking results in an adduction moment that acts around the knee, and this parameter is regarded as a surrogate measure of medial knee compression. The knee adduction moment is intimately linked with the development and progression of knee OA and is, therefore, a target for conservative biomechanical intervention strategies, which are the focus of this Review. We examine the evidence for walking barefoot and the use of lateral wedge insoles and thin-soled, flexible shoes to reduce the knee adduction moment in patients with OA. We review strategies that directly affect the gait, such as walking with the foot externally rotated ('toe-out gait'), using a cane, lateral trunk sway and gait retraining. Valgus knee braces and muscle strengthening are also discussed for their effect upon reducing the knee adduction moment.

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  • Neil D. Reeves

  • Frank L. Bowling

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