Energy recovery in individuals with knee osteoarthritis

T. L. Sparling, D. Schmitt*, C. E. Miller, F. Guilak, T. J. Somers, F. J. Keefe, R. M. Queen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Pathological gaits have been shown to limit transfer between potential (PE) and kinetic (KE) energy during walking, which can increase locomotor costs. The purpose of this study was to examine whether energy exchange would be limited in people with knee osteoarthritis (OA). Methods: Ground reaction forces during walking were collected from 93 subjects with symptomatic knee OA (self-selected and fast speeds) and 13 healthy controls (self-selected speed) and used to calculate their center of mass (COM) movements, PE and KE relationships, and energy recovery during a stride. Correlations and linear regressions examined the impact of energy fluctuation phase and amplitude, walking velocity, body mass, self-reported pain, and radiographic severity on recovery. Paired t-tests were run to compare energy recovery between cohorts. Results: Symptomatic knee OA subjects displayed lower energetic recovery during self-selected walking speeds than healthy controls (P=0.0018). PE and KE phase relationships explained the majority (66%) of variance in recovery. Recovery had a complex relationship with velocity and its change across speeds was significantly influenced by the self-selected walking speed of each subject. Neither radiographic OA scores nor subject self-reported measures demonstrated any relationship with energy recovery. Conclusions: Knee OA reduces effective exchange of PE and KE, potentially increasing the muscular work required to control movements of the COM. Gait retraining may return subjects to more normal patterns of energy exchange and allow them to reduce fatigue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-755
Number of pages9
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Energy recovery
  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Locomotor costs
  • Mechanical work


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