Knee joint loading in children with valgus malalignment predicted by conventional gait analysis parameters and musculoskeletal simulations
Gait analysis as a clinical examination method has been increasingly used in recent years. In particular, the external knee adduction moment was often used as a surrogate measure for internal medial knee joint loading, e.g., in elderly individuals with medial knee osteoarthritis. Therefore, the knee adduction moment is also associated with the progression of knee osteoarthritis. Children and adolescents with valgus malalignment have been found to experience a reduced external knee adduction
... nt, but internal knee joint contact forces, particularly in the lateral compartment, were not previously studied. First, medial and lateral knee joint contact forces were studied using muskulosceletal modeling in young individuals with and without valgus malalignment treated by guided growth. In addition, a systematic literature review was conducted to explore the relationship between external joint moments and internal joint contact forces. Finally, this relationship was investigated in children and adolescents with and without valgus malalignment. Furthermore, we examined whether statistical models could be determined to accurately predict internal knee joint contact forces by commonly used parameters from three-dimensional gait analysis, such as external knee joint moments. It was found that guided growth normalized knee joint contact forces after treatment. In addition, the static radiographic mechanical axis angle correlated better after the treatment when the patients showed a typical limb alignment compared to the correlation before guided growth with the valgus malalignment due to compensating strategies during gait. Furthermore, the systematic review showed that the peak medial knee joint contact force was best predicted by the knee adduction moment and even better together with the knee flexion moment in the first half of stance. However, for the second half of stance of the medial knee joint contact force and the entire stance of the lateral knee joint contact force, only low correlations with knee adduction and/or flexion moment were found. Finally, statistical models could be determined with high accuracy for both medial and lateral knee joint contact force, for both peaks in the first and second half of stance, and for both study groups of children and adolescents with and without valgus malalignment by including knee adduction and flexion moment as predictors. These results demonstrate the importance of examining not only the external knee adduction moment but also the knee flexion moment and, even better, the medial and lateral knee joint contact forces when evaluating knee joint loading. With these statistical models, clinicians can predict the medial and lateral knee joint contact forces without the need to perform musculoskeletal simulations and can therefore use standard three-dimensional gait analysis parameters such as knee adduction and flexion moment. This can improve guided growth treatment in children and adolescents with valgus malalignment with regard to implantation or explantation of the growth restricting plates or to rebound. Instrumented gait analysis could be particularly helpful in borderline cases, as kinematic compensation mechanisms during gait may play a role and the static radiograph alone does not provide information about dynamic joint loads.