Dynamic joint loading, particularly the external knee adduction moment (KAM), is an important surrogate measure for the medio-lateral distribution of force across the knee joint in people with knee osteoarthritis (OA). Foot motion may alter the load on the medial tibiofemoral joint and hence affect the KAM. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the relationship between tibia, rearfoot and forefoot motion in the frontal and transverse planes and the KAM in people with medial compartment knee OA.
Motion of the knee, tibia, rearfoot and forefoot and knee moments were evaluated in 32 patients with clinically and radiographically-confirmed OA, predominantly in the medial compartment. Pearson’s correlation coefficient was used to investigate the association between peak values of tibia, rearfoot and forefoot motion in the frontal and transverse planes and 1st peak KAM, 2nd peak KAM, and the knee adduction angular impulse (KAAI).
Lateral tilt of the tibia was significantly associated with increased 1st peak KAM (r = 0.60, p < 0.001), 2nd peak KAM (r = 0.67, p = 0.001) and KAAI (r = 0.82, p = 0.001). Increased peak rearfoot eversion was significantly correlated with decreased 2nd peak KAM (r = 0.59, p < 0.001) and KAAI (r = 0.50, p = 0.004). Decreased rearfoot internal rotation was significantly associated with increased 2nd peak KAM (r = −0.44, p = 0.01) and KAAI (r = −0.38, p = 0.02), while decreased rearfoot internal rotation relative to the tibia was significantly associated with increased 2nd peak KAM (r = 0.43, p = 0.01). Significant negative correlations were found between peak forefoot eversion relative to the rearfoot and 2nd peak KAM (r = −0.53, p = 0.002) and KAAI (r = −0.51, p = 0.003) and between peak forefoot inversion and 2nd peak KAM (r = −0.54, p = 0.001) and KAAI (r = −0.48, p = 0.005).
Increased rearfoot eversion, rearfoot internal rotation and forefoot inversion are associated with reduced knee adduction moments during the stance phase of gait, suggesting that medial knee joint loading is reduced in people with OA who walk with greater foot pronation. These findings have implications for the design of load-modifying interventions in people with knee OA.