Accelerometer-Based Step Regularity Is Lower in Older Adults with Bilateral Knee Osteoarthritis
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Purpose: To compare the regularity and symmetry of gait between a cohort of older adults with bilateral knee osteoarthritis (OA) and an age and sex-matched control group of older adults with healthy knees. Methods: Fifteen (8 females) older adults with knee OA (64.7 ± 6.7 years) and fifteen (8 females) pain-free controls (66.1 ± 10.0 years) completed a 9-min. walk at a self-selected, comfortable speed while wearing a single waist-mounted tri-axial accelerometer. The following gait parameters were compared between the two groups according to sex: mean step time, mean stride time, stride and step regularity (defined as the consistency of the stride-to-stride or step-to-step pattern) and the symmetry of gait (defined as the difference between step and stride regularity) as determined by an unbiased autocorrelation procedure that analyzed the pattern of acceleration in the vertical, mediolateral and anteroposterior directions. Results: Older adults with knee OA displayed significantly less step regularity in the vertical (p < 0.05) and anteroposterior (p < 0.05) directions than controls. Females with knee OA were also found to have significantly less mediolateral step regularity than female controls (p < 0.05), whereas no difference was found between males. Conclusion: The results showed that the regularity of the step pattern in individuals with bilateral knee OA was less consistent compared to similarly-aged older adults with healthy knees. The findings suggest that future studies should investigate the relationship between step regularity, sex and movement direction as well as the application of these methods to the clinical assessment of knee OA.
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