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A systematic review on changed biomechanics of lower extremities in obese individuals: a possible role in development of osteoarthritis

Authors

  • J. Runhaar,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of General Practice, Erasmus MC University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
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  • B. W. Koes,

    1. Department of General Practice, Erasmus MC University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
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  • S. Clockaerts,

    1. Department of Orthopaedics, Erasmus MC University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
    2. Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, University Hospital of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
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  • S. M. A. Bierma-Zeinstra

    1. Department of General Practice, Erasmus MC University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
    2. Department of Orthopaedics, Erasmus MC University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
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J Runhaar, Department of General Practice, Erasmus MC, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, the Netherlands. E-mail: j.runhaar@erasmusmc.nl

Summary

Obesity has been identified as a risk factor for osteoarthritis. For the weight-bearing joints, the combination of increased load and changed joint biomechanics could be regarded as underlying principle for this relation. This systematic review of the literature focused on the differences between obese and normal-weight subjects in biomechanics of the hip, knee and ankle joint during every day movements to summarize differences in joint load due to both higher body weight and differences in movement patterns. A systematic search, up to November 2010, was performed in the Pubmed and Embase databases. This review showed that obese individuals adjust their movement strategy of every day movements. At self-selected speed, obese individuals walked slower, with shorter and wider steps, had longer stance duration and had a greater toe-out angle compared with normal-weight individuals. Obese sit-to-stand movement was characterized by less hip flexion and greater foot displacement. Obese individuals showed altered biomechanics during every day movements. These altered biomechanics could be related to the initiation of osteoarthritis by a change in the load-bearing regions of the articular cartilage in the weight-bearing joints.

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