The loading patterns of a short femoral stem in total hip arthroplasty: gait analysis at increasing walking speeds and inclines
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BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to examine the gait pattern of total hip arthroplasty (THA) patients with a new short femoral stem at different speeds and inclinations. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 40 unilateral THA patients were tested on an instrumented treadmill. They comprised two groups (shorter stemmed THA n = 20, longer stemmed THA n = 20), both which had the same surgical posterior approach. The shorter femoral stemmed patients were taken from an ongoing hip trial with minimum 12 months postop. The comparative longer THR group with similar disease and severity were taken from a gait database along with a demographically similar group of healthy controls (n = 35). All subjects were tested through their entire range of gait speeds and inclines with ground reaction forces collected. Body weight scaling was applied and a symmetry index to compare the implanted hip to the contralateral normal hip. An analysis of variance with significance set at α = 0.05 was used. RESULTS: The experimental groups were matched demographically and implant groups for patient reported outcome measures and radiological disease. Both THA groups walked slower than controls, but symmetry at all intervals for all groups were not significantly different. Push-off loading was less favourable for both the shorter and longer stemmed THR groups (p < 0.05) depending on speed. CONCLUSIONS: Irrespective of femoral stem length, symmetry for ground reaction forces for both THA groups were returned to a normal range when compared to controls. However individual implant performance showed inferior (p < 0.05) push-off forces and normalised step length in both THR groups when compared to controls. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: III.
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