Compressive tibiofemoral force during crouch gait

Katherine M. Steele, Matthew S. DeMers, Michael H. Schwartz, Scott L. Delp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

287 Scopus citations


Crouch gait, a common walking pattern in individuals with cerebral palsy, is characterized by excessive flexion of the hip and knee. Many subjects with crouch gait experience knee pain, perhaps because of elevated muscle forces and joint loading. The goal of this study was to examine how muscle forces and compressive tibiofemoral force change with the increasing knee flexion associated with crouch gait. Muscle forces and tibiofemoral force were estimated for three unimpaired children and nine children with cerebral palsy who walked with varying degrees of knee flexion. We scaled a generic musculoskeletal model to each subject and used the model to estimate muscle forces and compressive tibiofemoral forces during walking. Mild crouch gait (minimum knee flexion 20-35°) produced a peak compressive tibiofemoral force similar to unimpaired walking; however, severe crouch gait (minimum knee flexion. >. 50°) increased the peak force to greater than 6 times body-weight, more than double the load experienced during unimpaired gait. This increase in compressive tibiofemoral force was primarily due to increases in quadriceps force during crouch gait, which increased quadratically with average stance phase knee flexion (i.e., crouch severity). Increased quadriceps force contributes to larger tibiofemoral and patellofemoral loading which may contribute to knee pain in individuals with crouch gait.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)556-560
Number of pages5
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Compressive force
  • Crouch gait
  • Knee
  • Walking


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