Your gait could reveal your knee problems

April 14th, 2009 - 4:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, April 14 (IANS) More than 25,000 knees are replaced in Australia every year, but most of them can be prevented with the help of gait analysis.
We need to know more about the way various forces affect the knee, said Pazit Levinger, a postdoctoral research fellow at the La Trobe University’s Musculoskeletal Research Centre.

Levinger is using a complex system of gait analysis to learn more about the walking pattern of people with painful knee conditions. ‘Preventative measures can then be devised to correct the gait and hopefully prevent deterioration of the joint,’ she said.

Levinger visualizes the interplay of forces on patients’ knees using a 3-D motion analysis system in combination with computer intelligence.

The state-of-the-art equipment helps investigate the recovery of patients after knee surgery, measuring their walking pattern such as joint angles and forces, length of step, step time and stride length.

The research could lead to a greater understanding of what causes deterioration of knees in people over 60 who develop osteoarthritis, a condition in which the cartilage begins to break down and wear away.

Levinger’s study analysed the gait of 11 patients prior to knee replacement surgery and five patients 12 months after surgery.

The research showed surgery restored normal gait in some patients. Post surgery, it detected changes in walking pattern and identified abnormal ones.

She expects that with further research this type of analysis could be applied more widely in clinical monitoring of recovery, said a La Trobe release.

These findings were published recently in Gait & Posture.

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