BACKGROUND: Foot characteristics and mechanics are hypothesized to affect aetiology of several lower extremity musculoskeletal conditions, including knee osteoarthritis (KOA). The purpose of this systematic review was to identify the foot characteristics and mechanics of individuals with KOA.
METHODS: Five databases were searched to identify relevant studies on foot characteristics and mechanics in people with KOA. Meta-analyses were performed where common measures were found across included studies. Included studies were evaluated for data reporting quality using the STROBE (STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology) checklist.
RESULTS: Thirty-nine studies were included in this systematic review. Two studies reported participants with KOA had statistically significantly (P < 0.05) more pronated foot postures than those without. Meta-analyses for foot progression angle (FPA) and peak rearfoot eversion angle found no difference between those with and without KOA (FPA mean difference:-1.50 [95% confidence interval - 4.20-1.21]; peak rearfoot eversion mean difference: 0.71 [1.55-2.97]).
CONCLUSION: A more pronated foot posture was noticed in those with KOA. However, it was not possible to establish a relationship between other foot characteristics or mechanics in people with KOA due to heterogeneity between the included study and limited number of studies with similar measurements. There is need for identifying common measurement techniques and reporting metrics when studying the foot in those with KOA.