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Hip joint load in relation to leg length discrepancy

Authors Wretenberg P, Hugo A, Broström E

Published 11 August 2008 Volume 2008:1 Pages 13—18


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 5

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Per Wretenberg1, Anders Hugo1, Eva Broström2

1Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Section of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; 2Department of Women and Child Health, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

Objective: Leg length discrepancy is common both in healthy subjects and after total hip arthroplasty (THA). Studies that evaluated leg length following THA have demonstrated a notable inconsistency in restoring leg length. The effects concerning joint load during gait is however not well known. The purpose of this study was to use three-dimensional (3D) gait analysis to evaluate joint load during gait with a simulated leg length discrepancy of 2 and 4 cm. Nine healthy subjects without any history of hip injury participated.

Method: A 3D gait analysis (Vicon, Motion System, Oxford, England) was performed with 6 cameras and 2 force palates using a standard biomechanical gait model. Hip joint moments of force were calculated for all three degrees of motion freedom. ANOVA for repeated measurements was used for statistical calculations.

Results: Abduction peak moment was significantly increased at the short side (P < 0.05) but unaffected on the long side. The adduction moment decreased on the long side between 0 and 4 cm (P < 0.01) but was unaffected on the short side. The internal hip rotation moments were unchanged for both the long and the short side. The external rotation moment was unchanged on the short side and decreased between bare foot and 4 cm on the long side (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: A leg length discrepancy of 2 cm or more creates biomechanical changes concerning hip joint load both on the long and the short side and that the effects are larger on the short side. The increased stress may cause problems in the long run.

Keywords: gait analyses, leg length discrepancy, hip, biomechanics

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