Gait dynamics in the wide spectrum of children with arthrogryposis: A descriptive study

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Abstract

© 2016 Eriksson et al. Background: Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC) is a heterogeneous condition characterized by multiple joint contractures at birth. Greater movements in the trunk and pelvis during walking have been observed in children with AMC using orthoses compared to those wearing only shoes. This study investigated gait dynamics in children with AMC and identified compensatory mechanisms that accommodate walking. Methods: Twenty-six children with AMC who walked with orthoses or shoes and a control group consisting of 37 typically-developing children were evaluated in 3D gait analysis. Children with AMC were divided into subgroups based on which joints needed to be stabilized in the sagittal plane; AMC1 used knee-ankle-foot orthoses (KAFOs) with locked knee joints, AMC2 used KAFOs with open knee joints or ankle-foot orthoses, and AMC3 used shoes. Results: The Gait Deviation Index was lower in AMC groups than in the control group, with the lowest in AMC1. Excessive trunk movements in frontal and transverse planes were observed in AMC2 and especially in AMC1. Lower hip flexion moment was found in AMC1, while AMC2 and AMC3 showed similar hip flexion moments as the control group. Knee extension moments were similar between the groups. In the frontal plane there were only small differences between the groups in hip abduction moment. A joint work analysis indicated greater contribution from the hip muscles to overall positive work in AMC groups, particularly in AMC1, than in the control group. Conclusion: All AMC groups showed less hip extension than the control group, but hip flexion moment was significantly lower only in AMC1, which can be attributed to their gait strategy with bilateral locked KAFOs. AMC1, who had weak knee extensors, were helped by their locked KAFOs and therefore showed similar knee extension moment as the other groups. This finding, together with their gait patterns, demonstrates the children's high reliance on hip muscles and presumably trunk muscles to provide propulsion. Our study shows that with adequate orthotic support, children with AMC and even with severe weakness and contractures can achieve walking.

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Eriksson, M., Bartonek, Å., Pontén, E., & Gutierrez-Farewik, E. M. (2015). Gait dynamics in the wide spectrum of children with arthrogryposis: A descriptive study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-015-0834-5

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