VA Research and Development LOGO

Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 43 Number 2, March/April 2006
Pages 161 — 170

Abstract - Effect of restricted spinal motion on gait

Regina Konz, MS;1-2* Stefania Fatone, PhD;1,3 Steven Gard, PhD1-4

1Northwestern University Prosthetics Research Laboratory and Rehabilitation Engineering Research Program, Chicago, IL; 2Department of Biomedical Engineering, Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL; 3Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; 4Jesse Brown Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Chicago, IL
Abstract — Spinal orthoses are common in the treatment of various conditions that affect the spine. They encompass both the spine and pelvis and thus have implications for pelvic and lower-limb motion during walking in addition to a direct effect on spinal motion. The role of the spine in walking is largely ill-defined, and the consequences of restricted spinal motion on walking have yet to be explored. This study investigated the effect of spinal restriction on gait in able-bodied persons. Gait analyses were performed on 10 able-bodied subjects as they walked at five different speeds that were distributed across their comfortable range of speeds. Data were collected during walking with and without spinal restriction by a fiberglass body jacket, which is similar to a thoracolumbosacral orthosis (TLSO). With spinal restriction, peak-to-peak (PP) pelvic obliquity and rotation were significantly reduced across all walking speeds (p < 0.001), while PP pelvic tilt was significantly reduced at only the fastest walking speeds (p = 0.017). PP hip abduction-adduction motion was significantly reduced with spinal restriction across all speeds (p < 0.001), while PP hip flexion-extension significantly increased at only the slow and very slow speeds (p < 0.001 and p = 0.023, respectively). A better understanding of the effects of restricted spinal motion on gait may help clinicians predict and avoid development of additional problems from TLSO use or surgical restriction of spinal motion. An awareness of these issues will enable clinicians to monitor patients for problems that may result from decreased spine and pelvic motion.
Key words: braces, gait, immobilization, locomotion, orthotic devices, spinal curvature, spinal diseases, spinal fusion, spine, walking.

 → go to Contents Page for Volume 42, No 4
 → go to HTML version of this article
 → go to PDF version of this article