Abnormal loading of the knee joint contributes to the pathogenesis of knee osteoarthritis. Gait retraining is a noninvasive intervention that aims to reduce knee loads by providing audible, visual, or haptic feedback of gait parameters. The computational expense of joint contact force prediction has limited real-time feedback to surrogate measures of the contact force, such as the knee adduction moment. We developed a method to predict knee joint contact forces using motion analysis and a statistical regression model that can be implemented in near real-time. Gait waveform variables were deconstructed using principal component analysis, and a linear regression was used to predict the principal component scores of the contact force waveforms. Knee joint contact force waveforms were reconstructed using the predicted scores. We tested our method using a heterogenous population of asymptomatic controls and subjects with knee osteoarthritis. The reconstructed contact force waveforms had mean (SD) root mean square differences of 0.17 (0.05) bodyweight compared with the contact forces predicted by a musculoskeletal model. Our method successfully predicted subject-specific shape features of contact force waveforms and is a potentially powerful tool in biofeedback and clinical gait analysis.
Saliba, Clouthier, Rainbow, and Deluzio are with the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Brandon is with the School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.