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Open Access Research article

Association between meniscal tears and the peak external knee adduction moment and foot rotation during level walking in postmenopausal women without knee osteoarthritis: a cross-sectional study

Miranda L Davies-Tuck1, Anita E Wluka12, Andrew J Teichtahl1, Johanne Martel-Pelletier3, Jean-Pierre Pelletier3, Graeme Jones4, Changhai Ding4, Susan R Davis5 and Flavia M Cicuttini1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Central and Eastern Clinical School, 89 Commercial Road, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria 3004, Australia

2 Baker Heart Research Institute, 75 Commercial Road, Melbourne, Victoria 3004, Australia

3 Osteoarthritis Research Unit, University of Montreal Hospital Centre, Notre-Dame Hospital, 1560 Sherbrooke Street East, Montreal, Quebec, H2L 4M1, Canada

4 Menzies Research Institute, University of Tasmania, Level 2, Surrey House, 199 Macquarie Street, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia

5 National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia Centre of Clinical Research Excellence for the Study of Women's Health, Monash University Medical School, Alfred Hospital, Prahran, Victoria 3181, Australia

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2008, 10:R58  doi:10.1186/ar2428

Published: 20 May 2008

Abstract

Introduction

Meniscal injury is a risk factor for the development and progression of knee osteoarthritis, yet little is known about risk factors for meniscal pathology. Joint loading mediated via gait parameters may be associated with meniscal tears, and determining whether such an association exists was the aim of this study.

Methods

Three-dimensional Vicon gait analyses were performed on the dominant knee of 20 non-osteoarthritic women, and the peak external knee adduction moment during early and late stance was determined. The degree of foot rotation was also examined when the knee adductor moment peaked during early and late stance. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to determine the presence and severity of meniscal lesions in the dominant knee.

Results

The presence (P = 0.04) and severity (P = 0.01) of medial meniscal tears were positively associated with the peak external knee adduction moment during early stance while a trend for late stance was observed (P = 0.07). They were also associated with increasing degrees of internal foot rotation during late stance, independent of the magnitude of the peak external knee adduction moment occurring at that time (P = 0.03). During level walking among healthy women, the presence and severity of medial meniscal tears were positively associated with the peak external knee adduction moment. Moreover, the magnitude of internal foot rotation was associated with the presence and severity of medial meniscal lesions, independent of the peak knee adductor moment during late stance.

Conclusion

These data may suggest that gait parameters may be associated with meniscal damage, although longitudinal studies will be required to clarify whether gait abnormalities predate meniscal lesions, or vice versa, and therefore whether modification of gait patterns may be helpful.