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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Basics of Gait Evaluation: Knees

When I first started working at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco in 1981, I joined their already prestigious Center For Sports Medicine. I was the first podiatrist in an MD clinic. Patients were coming from near and far for treatment of their knee injuries. The renowned orthopedist Dr James Garrick called on my biomechanics expertise (I was just off a Biomechanics Fellowship) time and time again to help with his knee patients. I always found it funny, yet exciting, that I would spend some days never looking at a foot problem.

When you watch gait and observe knee function, use the following checklist:

Is the knee moving a normal amount?

      Or is it too Stiff?
      Or is the motion Excessive?  

 Is the rotation of the knee placing it in the center of the leg?

     Or is the rotation too internal?
     Or is the rotation/position too external?

Are there structural issues to be concerned about?

    Is there genu valgum (knock knees)?
    Is there genu varum (bow legs)?

Are there very damaging forces at the knee?

    Is there hyperextension of the knee?
    Is there varus thrust of the knee?
    Is there valgus collapse of the knee?

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Thank you very much for leaving a comment. Due to my time restraints, some comments may not be answered.I will answer questions that I feel will help the community as a whole.. I can only answer medical questions in a general form. No specific answers can be given. Please consult a podiatrist, therapist, orthopedist, or sports medicine physician in your area for specific questions.