Introduction: Untreated unilateral developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) results in asymmetry of gait and hip strength and may lead to early osteoarthritis, which is commonly treated with a total hip arthroplasty (THA). There is limited knowledge about the obtained symmetry of gait and hip strength after the THA. The objectives of this cross-sectional study were to: a) identify asymmetries between the operated and non-operated side in kinematics, kinetics and hip strength, b) analyze if increased walking speed changed the level of asymmetry in patients c) compare these results with those of healthy subjects.
Methods: Women (18–70 year) with unilateral DDH who had undergone unilateral THA were eligible for inclusion. Vicon gait analysis system was used to collect frontal and sagittal plane kinematic and kinetic parameters of the hip joint, pelvis and trunk during walking at comfortable walking speed and increased walking speed. Furthermore, hip abductor and extensor muscle strength was measured. Results: Six patients and eight healthy subjects were included. In the patients, modest asymmetries in lower limb kinematics and kinetics were present during gait, but trunk lateral flexion asymmetry was evident. Patients’ trunk lateral flexion also differed compared to healthy subjects. Walking speed did not significantly influence the level of asymmetry. The hip abduction strength asymmetry of 23% was not statistically significant, but the muscle strength of both sides were significantly weaker than those of healthy subjects.
Conclusions: In patients with a DDH treated with an IBG THA modest asymmetries in gait kinematics and kinetics were present, with the exception of a substantial asymmetry of the trunk lateral flexion. Increased walking speed did not result in increased asymmetries in gait kinematics and kinetics. Hip muscle strength was symmetrical in patients, but significantly weaker than in healthy subjects. Trunk kinematics should be included as an outcome measure to assess the biomechanical benefits of the THA surgery after DDH.