Immediate effects of valgus bracing on knee joint moments during walking in knee-healthy individuals: Potential modifying effects of body height Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND:The goal of valgus knee brace treatment is to reduce medial knee joint loading during walking, often indicated by external knee adduction moment (KAM) measures. However, existing healthy-subjects studies have been equivocal in demonstrating KAM reduction with valgus knee bracing. RESEARCH QUESTION:What are the immediate effects of valgus bracing at different tension levels on KAM during walking at a controlled speed and does body height modify the brace-KAM associations? METHODS:Data from 32 knee-healthy participants were analysed in this randomized crossover trial. Participants performed walking trials at controlled speed (1.3 ± 0.065 m/s) both with and without an Ossür Unloader One® brace. During the bracing condition, valgus tension was incrementally increased, from zero tension to normal tension and to maximum tolerable tension. RESULTS:Valgus bracing minimally increased knee flexion at heel-strike (P < 0.001) in a dose-dependent manner and minimally reduced gait velocity (∼0.015m/s) across all tension levels. Valgus bracing, overall, did not significantly reduce the various KAM measures. However, brace use at maximal tension was associated with a 0.04Nm/kg (9.2 %) increase in first peak KAM amongst participants with a body height of 1.75 m and a 0.03Nm/kg (7.6 %) decrease in first peak KAM amongst participants with a body height of 1.55 m. SIGNIFICANCE:Valgus bracing did not reduce the various KAM measures during walking; however, body height may play a moderating role. Given knee brace sizes vary more in circumference than length, this result may be due to the ratio between effective moment arm length relative to limb length. A deeper understanding of the potential neuro-biomechanical effects of valgus knee bracing and how these effects are potentially modified by body height may be critical to the design of effective knee braces.


  • Pua, YH
  • Tan, HH
  • Mentiplay, Benjamin F
  • Lim, LZX
  • Tham, ACW
  • Quek, JJE
  • Woon, EL
  • Yeh, TT
  • Tan, CIC
  • Hunt, MA
  • Clark, RA

publication date

  • 2020