Is there a need for "Gait Retraining'?...We think so

 photo source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Severe_(Tönnis_grade_3)_osteoarthritis_of_the_hip.jpg

photo source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Severe_(Tönnis_grade_3)_osteoarthritis_of_the_hip.jpg

There seems to be some controversy with regards to gait retraining. Some folks seem to believe that it should be “left to itself” and they are fully compensated already (1). Perhaps this is true…or not. We have not seen any studies that compare gait retraining vs non gait retraining as a whole, but there seems to be plenty for specific conditions (2). We all see folks AFTER THE FACT and seek to correct the problems and reverse, halt or slow the progression of further pathology. That seems to be what many of us do.

This recent study (3) looks ate altered loads and muscle recruitment patterns in patients with osteoarthritis. they conclude:

“This study documents alterations in hip kinematics and kinetics resulting in decreased hip loading in patients with hip OA. The results suggested that patients altered their gait to increase medio-lateral stability, thereby decreasing demand on the hip abductors. These findings support discharge of abductor muscles that may bear clinical relevance of tailored rehabilitation targeting hip abductor muscles strengthening and gait retraining.”

There is substantial evidence that hip pathomechanics lead to osteoarthritis (4, 5). Wouldn’t it make sense to assist in altering motor patterns and correct those biomechanical faults before it becomes a problem? Lets change our focus (if we haven’t already) and concentrate on skill, endurance and strength, in that order for the betterment of ourselves, our patients and humanity.

  1. Nigg BM, Baltich J, Hoerzer S, Enders H. Running shoes and running injuries: mythbusting and a proposal for two new paradigms: “preferred movement path” and “comfort filter” Br J Sports Med. 2015 Jul; doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2015-095054. bjsports - 2015-095054. 

  2. Davis IS, Futrell E. Gait Retraining: Altering the Fingerprint of Gait. Physical medicine and rehabilitation clinics of North America. 2016;27(1):339-355. doi:10.1016/j.pmr.2015.09.002. FREE FULL TEXT

  3. Meyer CAG, Wesseling M, Corten K, Nieuwenhuys A, Monari D5, Simon JP, Jonkers I, Desloovere K. Hip movement pathomechanics of patients with hip osteoarthritis aim at reducing hip joint loading on the osteoarthritic side. Gait Posture. 2018 Jan;59:11-17. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2017.09.020. Epub 2017 Sep 22.

  4. Christian Egloff, Thomas Hügle, Victor Valderrabano: Biomechanics and pathomechanisms of osteoarthritis Swiss Med Wkly. 2012;142:w13583 FREE FULL TEXT

  5. https://www.the-rheumatologist.org/article/get-out-of-your-oa-box/?singlepage=1&theme=print-friendly