Split-Belt Treadmill Training Improves Mechanical Energetics and Metabolic Cost in Women with Unilateral Hip Osteoarthritis: A Proof-of-Concept Study

Chun Hao Huang*, Burcu Aydemir, Kharma C. Foucher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have shown that step length asymmetry seen in hip osteoarthritis (OA) is associated with poorer mechanical energy exchange and higher metabolic cost. Thus, we conducted this proof-of-concept study to investigate whether modifying step length through split-belt treadmill training can improve walking energetics. We conducted split-belt treadmill training in four periods with simultaneous motion and metabolic analyses in 10 women with unilateral hip OA. Using repeated measures ANOVA, we evaluated changes across each period, in step length asymmetry, mechanical energy exchange, and O2 rate. We also examined changes in hip range of motion and peak plantarflexor moment. We used Spearman correlations (rho) to assess the strength of associations between variables at baseline and after adaptation. We found that step length asymmetry and O2 rate decreased (p = 0.007, p < 0.001) and mechanical energy exchange increased (p < 0.001). Reduced step length asymmetry was associated with reduced O2 rate (rho = 0.732, p = 0.016). Hip range of motion increased (p < 0.001) and was associated with decreased step length asymmetry (rho = 0.818, p = 0.004), indicating a potential mechanism. These findings suggest that reducing step length asymmetry by split-belt treadmill training could improve walking energetics in hip OA people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-230
Number of pages11
JournalBiomechanics (Switzerland)
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Keywords

  • error augmentation
  • gait asymmetry
  • mechanical energy exchange
  • metabolic energy expenditure
  • osteoarthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Biomedical Engineering

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