Masters Thesis

Quadriceps Function and Walking Biomechanics in Obese Young Adults

Obesity is a major risk factor for knee osteoarthritis. Altered walking biomechanics have been documented in obese individuals, and relative quadriceps dysfunction may be present in this population. Both of which may contribute to the development of knee osteoarthritis. the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between quadriceps function and gait biomechanics in young obese adults, and to compare these measures between obese and normal weight young adults. Twenty-four normal-weight and twenty-three obese young adults were recruited and classified by body mass index. Quadriceps function was measured isometrically at 15° and 60°. Lower extremity kinematics and kinetics were collected while participants walked at a standardized (1 m/s) and self-selected speeds. a 2 group by 2 condition analysis of variance was used to evaluate quadriceps strength and walking biomechanics, and a Pearson correlation was calculated between quadriceps strength and walking biomechanics at standardized and self-selected speeds. We found that obese subjects have relative deficits in knee extensor muscle function compared to normal-weight young adults, and isometric RTD is moderately associated with the internal knee extension moment experienced during the loading phase of gait, but not with ground reaction force characteristics. Future studies are needed to prospectively analyze the influence of body composition on lower extremity strength and walking biomechanics on the development of KOA in obese adults.

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