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8th Combined Meeting Of Orthopaedic Research Societies (CORS)


Summary Statement

Objectifying postoperative recovery of patients with comminuted tibial plateau fractures treated with a unilateral plate trough the use of a gait analysis system.


Gait analysis has been a proved method for assessing postoperative results in patients with different orthopedic afflictions of the lower limb such as hallux valgus, ankle instabilities, knee osteoarthritis and arthroplasties but it has rarely been used for postoperative assessment of proximal tibial fractures. The more traditional means of quantifying postoperative articular step-off and limb axis deviations such as conventional X Rays and CT scanning and the clinician and patient completed scores that subjectively assess the outcome are complemented by the analysis of gait patterns set to objectify the most important patient related factor - the gait. As controversy exists in literature regarding the optimal treatment for severe tibial plateau fractures we proposed a gait study to evaluate locked angle unilateral plate osteosynthesis.

Patient & Method: A computerised motion analysis system and a sensor platform were used to gather gait data from 15 patients with unilateral tibial plateau fractures graded Shatzker V and VI treated with a angular stable locked lateral plate osteosynthesis. Gait analysis was performed postoperatively based on patient availability and as soon as ambulation was possible and permitted without auxiliary support (crutches) at 4 (mean of 4,6), 6 (mean of 6,2) and 12 (mean of 11,7) months respectively, at a naturally comfortable walking. All patients were evaluated using classic anteroposterior and lateral knee radiography and were asked to fill the KOOS score questionnaire at the time of the gait analysis session.


The spatial-temporal and angular parameters revealed the expected postoperative decrease in ROM in both flexion and extension of the knee. Step and stance time objectively decreased between measuring session with an increase in single support of 3,7% mean value. A constant increase in walking speed was noted from a mean of 42 cm/sec (cadence of 31 st/min) at 4 months to a speed of 90 cm/sec (mean of 49 st/min cadence). We also determined a asymmetrical and wider walking base, increased area of support during single leg standing, decreased stance and increased swing phases for the injured knee compared to contralateral.


All patients in the study were subjectively satisfied with the results of the treatment, however we were able to detect quantifiable differences of gait parameters such between the injured and the contralateral knee such as step, stance and swing time and in knee flexion and adduction, combined with a modified, wider walking base. Ground reaction forces were strongly related to score improvement and thus directly reflected the healing at the fracture site.