Aim: To examine the effect of a novel biomechanical, home-based, gait training device on gait patterns of obese individuals with knee OA.
Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of 105 (32 males, 73 females) obese (body mass index > 30 kg/m2 ) subjects with knee OA who completed a 12-month program using a biomechanical gait training device and performing specified exercises. They underwent a computerized gait test to characterize spatiotemporal parameters, and completed the Western Ontario and McMaster Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) questionnaire and Short Form-36 (SF-36) Health Survey. They were then fitted with biomechanical gait training devices and began a home-based exercise program. Gait patterns and clinical symptoms were assessed after 3 and 12 months of therapy.
Results: Each gait parameter improved significantly at 3 months and more so at 12 months (P = 0.03 overall). Gait velocity increased by 11.8% and by 16.1%, respectively. Single limb support of the more symptomatic knee increased by 2.5% and by 3.6%, respectively. There was a significant reduction in pain, stiffness and functional limitation at 3 months (P < 0.001 for each) that further improved at 12 months. Pain decreased by 34.7% and by 45.7%, respectively. Functional limitation decreased by 35.0% and by 44.7%, respectively. Both the Physical and Mental Scales of the SF-36 increased significantly (P < 0.001) at 3 months and more so following 12 months.
Conclusions: Obese subjects with knee OA who complied with a home-based exercise program using a biomechanical gait training device demonstrated a significant improvement in gait patterns and clinical symptoms after 3 months, followed by an additional improvement after 12 months.
Keywords: biomechanical device; function; gait; knee osteoarthritis; pain.