Longitudinal changes in lower limb joint loading up to two years following tibial plateau fracture

Stuart C. Millar, Kieran Bennett, François Fraysse, John B. Arnold, Lucian B. Solomon, Dominic Thewlis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Tibial plateau fractures are one of the most common intra-articular fractures resulting from high or low energy impact trauma. Few studies have assessed postoperative outcomes of these fractures with respect to changes in knee joint loading post-surgery. This gait analysis study compared lower limb joint loading up to two years post-surgery. Methods: Twenty patients (range 27–67 years; 9:11(male:female)) were treated with open reduction internal fixation and instructed to weight bear as tolerated immediately following surgery. Joint loading at the hip, knee and ankle were assessed at six time points post-operatively up to two years. Gait analyses were performed at each time point and a musculoskeletal model was used to compute external joint moments for the lower limb. Results: Hip flexion and extension (P = <0.001, P = <0.001), knee flexion (P = 0.014) and ankle plantarflexion moments (P = <0.001) showed significant increases with time. The hip flexion moment increased between six months and one year (mean difference = 0.16 Nm/kg) but did not increase thereafter (mean difference = 0.01 Nm/kg). Knee flexion and extension, and ankle plantarflexion moments increased up to six months (mean difference = 0.22 Nm/kg, 0.14 Nm/kg, 0.80 Nm/kg, respectively), but no further differences were seen with time from six months postoperative. Discussion: The greatest changes in joint loads were observed at the hip and ankle within the first six months, likely a result of mechanical adaptations attempting to account for limited motion at the knee. Knee joint loading plateaued beyond six months suggesting functional outcomes are largely reliant on postoperative management within the initial three months while the bone is healing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-79
Number of pages8
JournalGait and Posture
Publication statusPublished - May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Inverse dynamics
  • Open reduction and internal fixation
  • Proximal tibia
  • Weight bearing


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