Effects of Increased Step-Width on Knee Biomechanics During Inclined and Declined Walking

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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The purpose of this study was to investigate effects of preferred step width and increased step width modification on knee biomechanics of obese and healthy-weight participants during incline and decline walking. Seven healthy-weight participants and 6 participants who are obese (body mass index ≥ 30) performed 5 walking trials on level ground and a 10° inclined and declined instrumented ramp system at both preferred and wide step-widths. A 2 × 2 (step-width × group) mixed-model analysis of variance was used to examine selected variables. There were significant increases in step-width between the preferred and wide step-width conditions for all 3 walking conditions (all P < .001). An interaction was found for peak knee extension moment (P = .048) and internal knee abduction moment (KAM) (P = .025) in uphill walking. During downhill walking, there were no interaction effects. As step-width increased, KAM was reduced (P = .007). In level walking, there were no interaction effects for peak medial ground reaction force and KAM (P = .007). There was a step-width main effect for KAM (P = .007). As step-width increased, peak medial ground reaction force and peak knee extension moment increased, while KAM decreased for both healthy weight and individuals who are obese. The results suggest that increasing step-width may be a useful strategy for reducing KAM in healthy and young populations.

The authors are with the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sports Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA.

Zhang (szhang@utk.edu) is corresponding author.
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