Gait pattern in rheumatoid arthritis
Rüdiger J. Weissa, Per Wretenberga, André Starka, Karin Palmbladb, Per Larssonc, Lollo Gröndala, Eva Broströmb
Gait and Posture (in press)
The purpose of this study was to analyse kinematic and kinetic gait changes in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients in comparison to healthy controls and to examine whether levels of functional disability (Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ)-scores) were associated with gait parameters. Using a three-dimensional motion analysis system, kinematic and kinetic gait parameters were measured in 50 RA patients and 37 healthy controls. There was a significant reduction in joint motions, joint moments and work in the RA cohort compared with healthy controls. The following joint motions were decreased: hip flexion–extension range (Δ6°), hip abduction (Δ4°), knee flexion–extension range (Δ8°) and ankle plantarflexion (Δ10°). The following joint moments were reduced: hip extensor (Δ0.30Nm/kg) and flexor (Δ0.20Nm/kg), knee extensor (Δ0.11Nm/kg) and flexor (Δ0.13Nm/kg), and ankle plantarflexor (Δ0.44Nm/kg). Work was lower in hip positive work (Δ0.07J/kg), knee negative work (Δ0.08J/kg) and ankle positive work (Δ0.15J/kg). Correlations were fair although significant between HAQ and hip flexion–extension range, hip abduction, knee flexion–extension range, hip abductor moment, stride length, step length and single support (r=−0.30 to −0.38, p<0.05). Our findings suggest that RA patients have overall less joint movement and specifically restricted joint moments and work across the large joints of the lower limbs during walking than healthy controls. There were only fair associations between levels of functional disability and gait parameters. The findings of this study help to improve the understanding how RA affects gait changes in the lower limbs.