The influence of walking speed on gait parameters in healthy people and in patients with osteoarthritis

  • Zoltán Bejek
  • Róbert Paróczai
  • Árpád Illyés
  • Rita M. Kiss


It is difficult to identify objective parameters for assessing the joint function when evaluating the outcome of orthopaedic procedures, especially endoprosthetic replacement. Spatial and temporal parameters of gait have clinical relevance in the assessment of motor pathologies, particularly in orthopaedics. However, the influence of gait speed on these biomechanical parameters has been difficult to be taken into consideration so far. The objective of the present study was to analyse the impact of gait speed on gait parameters and to set a standard walking speed for patients with osteoarthritis by means of a special treadmill control mechanism. The second objective is to compare the gait patterns in patients with unilateral osteoarthritis of the hip joint or of the knee joint to the gait pattern of healthy control subjects. A total of 20 patients with severe unilateral osteoarthritis of the hip, 20 patients with severe unilateral osteoarthritis of the knee and 20 healthy elderly subjects without any history of lower extremity joint pathology were investigated at four different gait speeds. The gait analysis equipment used consisted of an infinitely adjustable force-instrumented treadmill and an ultrasound-based motion analyser system with electromyography. Our data suggest that most of the biomechanical parameters depend on gait speed. The highest gait speed that all our patients with severe osteoarthritis were suitable with, without pain and loss of coordination, was 2.00 km/h. Our findings indicate that the changes in gait parameters may occur in patients with unilateral osteoarthritis of the hip joint or the knee joint compared to the gait pattern of healthy control subjects. Hip joint or knee joint degeneration was compensated for in part by the pelvis and other joints in the lower limb. Reduced motion of the hip joint or knee joint leads to an increased pelvic motion, which should affect the natural mobility of the lumbar spine and cause pain in the lumbar region of the spine because of their kinematic interaction.


Biomechanics Gait analysis Osteoarthritis Knee Hip Gait speed 



This work was supported in part by the Hungarian Scientific Fund T049471 and Semmelweis Foundation. We are indebted to Professor Kocsis for providing access to the Biomechanical Laboratory at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics and his assistance in experiments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zoltán Bejek
    • 1
  • Róbert Paróczai
    • 2
  • Árpád Illyés
    • 1
  • Rita M. Kiss
    • 3
  1. 1.Orthopaedic DepartmentSemmelweis UniversityBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Department of Applied Budapest University of Technology and EconomicsBudapestHungary
  3. 3.Academic Research Group of StructuresBudapestHungary

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