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Effects of simulated crouch gait on foot kinematics and kinetics in healthy children

At a glance

  • Project leader : Julia Balzer
  • Co-project leader : Sarah Schelldorfer
  • Project team : Christoph Bauer, Dr. Marietta van der Linden
  • Project status : completed
  • Funding partner : Internal
  • Project partner : Queen Margaret University Health Science School
  • Contact person : Christoph Bauer

Description

Identification of secondary and tertiary impairments in neurologically induced gait deviations, such as

crouch gait, is not always straightforward, but essential in order to decide upon the most efficient

medical treatment in patients with cerebral palsy (CP). Until now, exact intersegmental dependency of

the development of foot deformities has not been investigated. Therefore, the aim of this study was to

explore if an artificially induced bilateral knee flexion contracture causes compensatory mechanisms in

foot motion during gait in healthy children.

Three-dimensional kinematic and kinetic data from 30 healthy children (mean age 10.6 years) were

derived from the Oxford Foot model (OFM). Participants walked first in an artificially induced crouch gait

(limitation of knee extension to 408) and then normally. Walking speed was kept the same in both

conditions.

Analysis revealed small but significant (p < 0.05) differences between the two conditions in hindfoot

and forefoot kinematics in all three planes during the stance phase as well as for all peak internal

moments within the foot. In general the foot tended to compensate for an artificial knee flexion

contracture with an increase in maximal dorsiflexion, eversion and external rotation of the hindfoot,

which also allowed increased foot motion in other foot segments.

The results of this study showed that an isolated proximal joint contracture had an influence on foot

position during stance in healthy children. Further interpretation of the data in relation to CP children

will be possible as soon as comparable OFM data of pathological crouch gait is available.