[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the effects of cane use on spatiotemporal gait parameters, pain, and function in adults with hip osteoarthritis (OA).
Prospective observational study.
An academic tertiary Veterans Affairs Healthcare Center.
Thirteen adults with symptomatic hip OA and 13 healthy adults.
We undertook gait analysis in all subjects with an optoelectronic camera system. Pain, stiffness, and physical function in subjects with hip OA were assessed with the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC).
Baseline spatiotemporal measures of unaided gait were obtained for healthy subjects. Baseline and 4-week spatiotemporal gait parameters were assessed for hip OA subjects while they walked with and without a cane. Participants with hip OA completed the WOMAC at baseline and after 4 weeks of cane use.
At baseline when walking unaided, the subjects with hip OA (age range 60-75 years) had a significantly slower gait velocity, shorter affected limb stride length, and longer double-stance time compared with healthy control subjects. When walking with a cane, they had a reduction in gait velocity (P < .05) caused by a decrease in cadence (P < .05) compared with walking unaided. After 4 weeks of cane use, the participants with hip OA demonstrated significant improvements in gait velocity (P < .05) and double-stance time (P < .05) when walking with a cane in comparison with baseline data. There was no improvement in pain and function after 4 weeks of cane use, a period in which only approximately 60% of the hip OA subjects used the cane 6 or more times per week.
Initial use of a cane led to decreased gait velocity and cadence in people with hip OA compared with walking unaided. This difference in gait velocity diminished after they practiced walking with the cane. Inconsistent use of the cane may have contributed to the lack of improvement in the subjects' hip OA pain and function.