Characteristic gait kinematics of persons with lumbo-sacral myelomeningocele

Authors: Gutierrez-Farewik, E.M., Bartonek, Å., Haglund-Åkerlind, Y., Saraste, H.
Document Type: Article
Pubstate: Published
Journal: Gait & Posture
Volume: 18   170-177
Year: 2003


Thirty self-ambulatory children with mid-lumbar to low-sacral myelomeningocele who walked without aids and 21 control children were evaluated by three-dimensional gait analysis. Characteristic kinematic patterns and parameters in the trunk, pelvis, hip, knee and ankle were analyzed with respect to groups with successive weakness of the ankle plantarflexor, ankle dorsiflexor, hip abductor, hip extensor and knee flexor muscles. Extensive weakness of the plantarflexors resulted in kinematic alterations in the trunk, pelvis, hip and knee and in all three planes seen as knee flexion, anterior pelvic tilt and trunk and pelvic rotation. Additional extensive weakness of the dorsiflexors made little difference in the walking strategy. Large kinematic alterations in all planes were observed where there was a large extent of additional weakness of the hip abductor but strength remaining in the hip extensors. In this group, gait was characterized by large lateral sway of the trunk, rotation of the trunk and pelvis, pelvic hike and increased extension of the knees. In the group with total poresis hip extensors but yet some knee flexion, gait was similar to the previous group but there was less sagittal plane movement greates and posterior trunk tilt. Gait analysis provides an understanding of the compensatory strategies employed in these patients. Clinical management can be directed towards stabilizing the lower extremities and accommodating large upper body motion to preserve this method of self-ambulation even in children who have considerable hip extensor and abductor weakness.