Individuals with knee osteoarthritis present increased gait pattern deviations as measured by a knee-specific gait deviation index
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BACKGROUND: A biomechanical analysis can provide valuable information on osteoarthritis (OA) gait, but important multidimensional interactions are often ignored. The Gait Deviation Index (GDI) was designed to address the issue of data complexity in gait analyses by providing a single, encompassing, value for one's deviation from a normative reference group. RESEARCH QUESTION: The primary aim of this study was to examine differences in a knee-specific GDI among young adults, and older individuals with and without knee OA. Secondarily, we aimed to examine these differences while controlling for gait speed. METHOD: Sagittal and frontal plane knee joint angles and moments were used in the computation of a GDI among young adults, and older individuals with and without knee OA. The GDI was calculated such that scores ≥100% were considered typical young-healthy gait and a 10% decrease below 100 equated to 1 standard deviation from typical gait. Scores were first examined using a one-way analysis of variance, and examined again after correcting for gait speed. RESULTS: The GDI was calculated for three groups: young-healthy adults (n = 52), older individuals without knee OA (n = 56), and individuals with knee OA (n = 191). Those with knee osteoarthritis exhibited a mean GDI of 87.2 (11.1), which was significantly lower than young adults (99.6 (10.6); p < 0.001) and older individuals without knee OA (94.3 (11.0); p < 0.001). Differences in GDI remained consistent after controlling for gait speed. Knee OA gait waveforms displayed significant variability across similar GDIs, specifically in frontal plane patterns. CONCLUSION: Those with knee osteoarthritis exhibited lower (worse) GDIs compared to those without knee osteoarthritis and young, healthy individuals. After correcting for gait speed, these findings did not change. The GDI highlighted the significant variability in gait waveforms within individuals with knee OA, but the clinical utility of the GDI score itself remains limited.
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