The objective of this study was to investigate the learning process of knee osteoarthritis (KOA) patients learning to change their foot progression angle (FPA) over a six-week toe-in gait training program. Sixteen patients with medial KOA completed a six-week toe-in gait training program with real-time biofeedback. Patients walked on an instrumented treadmill while receiving real-time feedback on their foot progression angle (FPA) with reference to a target angle. The FPA difference (difference between target and actual FPA) was analyzed during i) natural walking, ii) walking with feedback, iii) walking without feedback and iv) walking with a dual-task at the start and end of the training program. Self-reported difficulty and abnormality and time spent walking and training were also analyzed. The FPA difference during natural walking was significantly decreased from median 6.9 to median 3.6° i.e. by 3.3° in week six (p < 0.001); adding feedback reduced FPA difference to almost zero. However the dual-task condition increased the FPA difference at week one compared to the feedback condition (median difference: 1.8°, p = 0.022), but after training this effect was minimized (median difference: 0.6°, p = 0.167). Self-reported abnormality and difficulty decreased from median 5 to 3 and from median 6 to 3 on the NRS respectively (p < 0.05). Patients with medial KOA could reduce the FPA difference during natural walking after the gait retraining program, with some evidence of a reduction in the cognitive demand needed to achieve this. Automation of adaptions might need support from more permanent feedback using wearable technologies.
Richards, R., van der Esch, M., van den Noort, J. C., & Harlaar, J. (2018). The learning process of gait retraining using real-time feedback in patients with medial knee osteoarthritis. Gait and Posture, 62, 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gaitpost.2018.02.023