Objective: To compare the immediate effects of contralateral versus ipsilateral cane use on spatiotemporal gait parameters and peak vertical ground force in overweight or obese adults with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (OA). Design: Prospective observational study. Setting: An academic tertiary Veterans Affairs Healthcare Center. Participants: Thirty-eight overweight or obese subjects with symptomatic knee OA who had not used a cane for the past 30 days. Methods: Spatiotemporal gait data were obtained with an optical motion capture system while subjects walked without a cane, with a cane contralateral to the more painful lower limb, or with a cane ipsilateral to the more painful lower limb at self-selected speeds. An in-shoe dynamic pressure distribution system was used to measure the vertical ground reaction force. Main Outcome Measurements: Spatiotemporal measures of gait and peak vertical ground reaction force on both lower limbs were recorded for each walking condition: no cane, contralateral cane, and ipsilateral cane. Results: Walking with a cane either contralateral or ipsilateral to the more symptomatic limb led to significant reductions in gait velocity (14%-16%), cadence (12%-14%), and peak vertical ground reaction force (normalized for body weight; 11%-12%) on the more painful lower limb compared with walking unaided (P < .05). There were no significant differences in the peak vertical ground reaction force on either lower limbs when comparing walking with a cane contralateral to the more painful limb or walking with a cane ipsilateral to the more painful limb. Subjects also experienced a significant decrease in gait velocity with contralateral or ipsilateral cane use compared with walking without a cane; the lower walking speed was due to a decrease in cadence. Conclusions: These results support the prescription of a single-point cane to offload a lower limb with painful knee OA by holding the cane either ipsilateral or contralateral to the more painful lower limb.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Clinical Neurology