This study examined the influence of a 6-week gait retraining program on the knee adduction moment (KAM) and knee pain and function. Ten subjects with medial compartment knee osteoarthritis and self-reported knee pain participated in weekly gait retraining sessions over 6 weeks. Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) scores and a 10-point visual-analog pain scale score were measured at baseline, post-training (end of 6 weeks), and 1 month after training ended.
Gait retraining reduced the first peak KAM by 20% (p < 0.01) post-training as a result of a 7° decrease in foot progression angle (i.e., increased internal foot rotation), compared to baseline (p < 0.01). WOMAC pain and function scores were improved at post-training by 29% and 32%, respectively (p < 0.05) and visual-analog pain scale scores improved by two points (p < 0.05). Changes in WOMAC pain and function were approximately 75% larger than the expected placebo effect (p < 0.05). Changes in KAM, foot progression angle, WOMAC pain and function, and visual-analog pain score were retained 1 month after the end of the 6-week training period (p < 0.05). These results show that a 6-week gait retraining program can reduce the KAM and improve symptoms for individuals with medial compartment knee osteoarthritis and knee pain.