Toe-in and toe-out gait modifications have received increasing attention as an effective, conservative treatment for individuals without severe osteoarthritis because of its potential for improving knee adduction moment (KAM) and knee flexion moment (KFM). Although toe-in and toe-out gaits have positive effects on tibiofemoral (TF) joint pain in the short term, negative impacts on other joints of the lower extremity may arise. The main purpose of this study was to quantitatively compare the effects of foot progression angle (FPA) gait modification with normal walking speeds in healthy individuals on lower-extremity joint, ground reaction force (GRF), muscle electromyography, joint moment, and TF contact force. Experimental measurements using the Vicon system and multi-body dynamics musculoskeletal modelling using OpenSim were conducted in this study. Gait analysis of 12 subjects (n = 12) was conducted with natural gait, toe-in gait, and toe-out gait. One-way repeated measures of ANOVA (p
< 0.05) with Tukey’s test was used for statistical analysis. Results showed that the toe-in and toe-out gait modifications decreased the max angle of knee flexion by 8.8 and 12.18 degrees respectively (p
< 0.05) and the max angle of hip adduction by 1.28 and 0.99 degrees respectively (p
< 0.05) compared to the natural gait. Changes of TF contact forces caused by FPA gait modifications were not statistically significant; however, the effect on KAM and KFM were significant (p
< 0.05). KAM or combination of KAM and KFM can be used as surrogate measures for TF medial contact force. Toe-in and toe-out gait modifications could relieve knee joint pain probably due to redistribution of TF contact forces on medial and lateral condylar through changing lateral contact centers and shifting bilateral contact locations.
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