Lower Extremity Gait Kinematics Outcomes After Knee Replacement Demonstrate Arthroplasty-specific Differences Between Unicondylar and Total Knee Arthroplasty: A Pilot Study

BACKGROUND:

The aim of the present study is to compare sagittal gait kinematics of ankle, knee and hip joints between subjects with unicondylar and total knee arthroplasty and age matched healthy controls. Since unicondylar knee replacement is a less invasive procedure, which more closely preserves knee joint anatomy, we hypothesized that one year post unicondylar knee arthroplasty patients would demonstrate more normal gait patterns than patients with total knee arthroplasty.

RESEARCH QUESTION:

Do unicondylar and total knee arthroplasty patients display similar gait kinematics one year after surgery?

METHODS:

Fourteen subjects (8 posterior stabilized and 6 medial unicondylar knee replacements) that were one year post surgery, and 6 healthy control subjects underwent a 3D gait analysis and a physical examination (range of motion, muscle strength). Statistical parametric mapping was used to compare gait kinematics of the lower limbs between groups. Additionally, differences in peak angles and clinical outcomes were assessed using a one-way ANOVA between subjects analysis.

RESULTS:

Both knee replacement groups showed reduced knee flexion range of motion and reduced muscle strength at the operated leg compared to the control group. Subjects with TKA demonstrated reduced knee flexion at loading response and midstance of the gait cycle. Both UKA and TKA demonstrated significantly less knee flexion during swing.

SIGNIFICANCE:

The results of this study demonstrate arthroplasty-specific differences in muscle strength, range of motion and gait kinematics of the lower limb one year after knee surgery. Future planning of post-surgery follow-up should addresses these arthroplasty-specific weaknesses and gait deviations.