Does T'ai Chi Gait Reduce External Knee Adduction Moment?

Wei Liu, John E. Kovaleski, Thomas M. Kepple, Jonathan Wolfe, Brandi Decoux, John P. McCarthy, Jasvinder Singh, Cora E. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: T'ai chi chuan is a beneficial exercise of improving health and function. Biomechanical insights of t'ai chi chuan are less understood. Objectives: To study t'ai chi gait (TCG), a common form of t'ai chi chuan in order to quantify external knee adduction moment (EKAM) as a key indicator of mechanical loading of the medial compartment of the knee compared with normal walking (NW). Design: A quantitative biomechanics approach to determine peak EKAM for NW and TCG. Results: There were a tri-modal pattern of EKAM during TCG and a bimodal pattern of EKAM during normal walking. In addition, subsequent analysis showed a 25%-47% reduction in peak EKAM during double support phases of TCG compared with NW; the peak EKAM of TCG during single-limb support phase showed significantly higher magnitude than the other two double-support phases. Conclusion: These results indicate that t'ai chi chuan might be a beneficial intervention for reducing the medial mechanical load at the knee joint, particularly during the first double-support phases of TCG, but the special consideration of higher peak EKAM of single-limb support phase is needed during regular t'ai chi chuan practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)818-823
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • external knee adduction moment
  • gait
  • knee
  • loading
  • t'ai chi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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