With the high prevalence of pediatric obesity there is a need for structured physical activity during childhood. However, altered tibiofemoral loading during physical activity in obese children likely contribute to their increased risk of orthopedic disorders of the knee. The goal of this study was to determine the effects of pediatric obesity and walking duration on medial and lateral tibiofemoral contact forces. We collected experimental biomechanics data during treadmill walking at 1 m•s-1 for 20 min in 10 obese and 10 healthy-weight 8-12 year-olds. We created subject-specific musculoskeletal models using radiographic measures of tibiofemoral alignment and centers-of-pressure, and predicted medial and lateral tibiofemoral contact forces at the beginning and end of each trial. Obesity and walking duration affected tibiofemoral loading. At the beginning of the trail, the average percent of the total load passing through the medial compartment during stance was 85% in the obese children and 63% in the healthy-weight children; at the end of the trial, the medial distribution was 90% in the obese children and 72% in the healthy-weight children. Medial compartment loading rates were 1.78 times greater in the obese participants. The medial compartment loading rate increased 17% in both groups at the end compared to the beginning of the trial (p = 0.001). We found a strong linear relationship between body-fat percentage and the medial-lateral load distribution (r2 = 0.79). Altered tibiofemoral loading during walking in obese children may contribute to their increased risk of knee pain and pathology.
- gait biomechanics
- joint loading
- musculoskeletal modeling
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine