September 2016

Even mild LLD affects gait in ways that could speed knee degeneration

In the moment: Knee OA

By Jordana Bieze Foster

The effects of mild limb-length discrepancy (LLD) on gait in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) may contribute to disease progression, according to research epublished in August by Clinical Biomechanics.

In 15 patients with unilateral knee OA, researchers from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, assessed the effects of wearing sandals with sole thicknesses that differed by 1.45 cm, compared with wearing two sandals of the same sole thickness. For the LLD condition, the thinner-soled sandal was worn on the affected limb.

Compared with the control condition, the LLD condition was associated with altered rearfoot, knee, hip, pelvic, and trunk kinematics and ankle, knee, and hip kinetics.

Of note, the LLD condition was associated with greater knee extension moment during loading response and knee flexion moment during terminal stance than the control condition. These increases in sagittal plane loading associated with even mild leg-length discrepancies could contribute to accelerated knee OA progression, the authors hypothesized.


Resende RA, Kirkwood RN, Deluzio KJ, et al. Mild leg length discrepancy affects lower limbs, pelvis and trunk biomechanics of individuals with knee oste­oarthritis during gait. Clin Biomech 2016 Aug 3. [Epub ahead of print]

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