Gait in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: energy cost analysis.

Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine Unit, Unité de Réadaptation, Université catholique de Louvain, Tour Pasteur 5375, Avenue Mounier 53, 1200, Brussels, Belgium.
European Spine Journal (Impact Factor: 2.47). 05/2009; 18(8):1160-8. DOI: 10.1007/s00586-009-1002-0
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Walking is a very common activity for the human body. It is so common that the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems are optimized to have the minimum energetic cost at 4 km/h (spontaneous speed). A previous study showed that lumbar and thoracolumbar adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients exhibit a reduction of shoulder, pelvic, and hip frontal mobility during gait. A longer contraction duration of the spinal and pelvic muscles was also noted. The energetic cost (C) of walking is normally linked to the actual mechanical work muscles have to perform. This total mechanical work (W(tot)) can be divided in two parts: the work needed to move the shoulders and lower limbs relative to the center of mass of the body (COM(b)) is known as the internal work (W(int)), whereas additional work, known as external work (W(ext)), is needed to accelerate and lift up the COM(b) relative to the ground. Normally, the COM(b) goes up and down by 3 cm with every step. Pathological walking usually leads to an increase in W (tot) (often because of increased vertical displacement of the COM(b)), and consequently, it increases the energetic cost. The goal of this study is to investigate the effects of scoliosis and scoliosis severity on the mechanical work and energetic cost of walking. Fifty-four female subjects aged 12 to 17 were used in this study. Thirteen healthy girls were in the control group, 12 were in scoliosis group 1 (Cobb angle [Cb] < or = 20 degrees), 13 were in scoliosis group 2 (20 degrees < Cb < 40 degrees), and 16 were in scoliosis group 3 (Cb > or = 40 degrees). They were assessed by physical examination and gait analysis. The 41 scoliotic patients had an untreated progressive left thoracolumbar or lumbar AIS. During gait analysis, the subject was asked to walk on a treadmill at 4 km h(-1). Movements of the limbs were followed by six infrared cameras, which tracked markers fixed on the body. W(int) was calculated from the kinematics. The movements of the COM(b) were derived from the ground reaction forces, and W(ext) was calculated from the force signal. W(tot) was equal to W(int) + W(ext). Oxygen consumption VO2 was measured with a mask to calculate energetic cost (C) and muscular efficiency (W(tot)/C). Statistical comparisons between the groups were performed using an analysis of variance (ANOVA). The external work (W(ext)) and internal work (W(int)) were both reduced from 7 to 22% as a function of the severity of the scoliosis curve. Overall, the total muscular mechanical work (W(tot)) was reduced from 7% to 13% in the scoliosis patients. Within scoliosis groups, the W(ext) for the group 1 (Cb > or = 20 degrees) and 2 (20 < or = Cb < or = 40 degrees) was significantly different from group 3 (Cb > or = 40 degrees). No significant differences were observed between scoliosis groups for the W(int). The W(tot) did not showed any significant difference between scoliosis groups except between group 1 and 3. The energy cost and VO2 were increased by around 30%. As a result Muscle efficiency was significantly decreased by 23% to 32%, but no significant differences related to the severity of the scoliosis were noted. This study shows that scoliosis patients have inefficient muscles during walking. Muscle efficiency was so severely decreased that it could be used as a diagnostic tool, since every scoliosis patient had an average muscle efficiency below 27%, whereas every control had an average muscle efficiency above 27%. The reduction of mechanical work found in scoliotic patients has never been observed in any pathological gait, but it is interpreted as a long term adaptation to economize energy and face poor muscle efficiency. With a relatively stiff gait, scoliosis patients also limit vertical movement of the COM(b) (smoothing the gait) and consequently, reduce W(ext) and W(int). Inefficiency of scoliosis muscles was obvious even in mild scoliosis (group 1, Cb < 20 degrees) and could be related to the prolonged muscle contraction time observed in a previous study (muscle co-contraction).

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    ABSTRACT: Study Design. 3D analysis of the spino-pelvic alignment in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS).Objective. To study the 3D pelvic alignment with respect to the spinal deformities in AIS subgroups.Summary of Background Data. Spino-pelvic alignment is subject to change in scoliosis. Many sacro-pelvic parameters were developed to characterize spino-pelvic alignment in sagittal plane. However not much is known about the 3D pelvic alignment with respect to the thoracic and lumbar spinal deformities in AIS.Methods. Eighty AIS subjects with right main thoracic curves (MT), 80 AIS with left thoracolumbar-lumbar curves (TL/L), and 35 asymptomatic controls were included. Thoracic and lumbar Cobb angles, kyphosis, lordosis, pelvic incidence, pelvic tilt, and sacral slope were measured. Pelvic tilt and axial rotation in the coronal and transverse planes respectively were computed using the ipsilateral anterior and posterior iliac spine (ASIS and PSIS) positions. Leg length discrepancy was determined by the vertical difference in the position of the center of the femoral heads in the coronal plane.Results. In 59% of the MT subjects and 79% of the TL/L subjects in the erect position, the pelvis was tilted toward the convex side of the major curve in the coronal plane. The direction of the pelvic axial rotation in the transverse plane was in the same direction as the main thoracic apical vertebra rotation in 84% of the MT subjects and 55% of the TL/L group. The pelvic incidence correlated to the lumbar lordosis in AIS (r = 0.41, p<0.001). Pelvic coronal tilt correlated significantly to the leg length discrepancy in MT (r = 0.67) and TL/L (r = 0.61) subjects (p<0.001).Conclusion. Novel pelvic parameters were introduced to characterize the spino-pelvic relative alignment in scoliotic subgroups. The proposed method related the orientation of the pelvis in the coronal and transverse planes to both thoracic and lumbar spinal deformities.
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    ABSTRACT: A previous study showed subtle biomechanical changes in the gait of unbraced adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients such as a reduction of pelvic, hip, knee, and ankle displacements. However, lumbopelvic muscles' timing activity was bilaterally increased during gait and correlated to excessive oxygen consumption as compared with healthy subjects. Usually, a brace, when indicated, is worn strictly for 22 hours every day in skeletally immature idiopathic scoliotic girls. To our knowledge, no study has assessed the long-term brace effect (6 months) on functional activities such as level walking. To assess the stiffening effects of 6 months' brace wearing on instrumented gait analysis in girls with thoracolumbar/lumbar adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Clinical prospective study. Thirteen girls diagnosed as progressive adolescent idiopathic scoliosis with left thoracolumbar/lumbar curves (curves ranging 25°-40°). All patients underwent a radiographic and instrumented gait analysis, including assessment of kinematics, mechanics, electromyography (EMG), and energetics of walking. The scoliotic girls were prospectively studied at S1 (before bracing) and 6 months later at S2 (out-brace: treatment effect). The gait parameters were compared with those of 13 matched healthy girls. A t paired test was conducted to evaluate the effect of the 6-month orthotic treatment in AIS girls. Student t test was performed to compare the scoliotic group at S2 and the healthy subjects to identify if the observed changes in gait parameters meant improvement or worsening of gait. After 6 months of orthotic treatment in AIS, thoracolumbar/lumbar curves and apical rotation remained reduced by 25% and 61%, respectively. During gait, frontal pelvis and hip motions were significantly increased. Muscular mechanical work increased becoming closer but still different as compared with healthy subjects. Bilateral lumbopelvic muscles were almost 40% more active in AIS at S1 compared with healthy subjects and did not change at S2 except for the erector spinae muscles EMG activity, which decreased significantly. Energy cost exceeded by 30% in AIS at S1 compared with healthy subjects and did not change at 6 months' follow-up. After 6 months of orthotic treatment, in an out-brace situation, the main structural thoracolumbar/lumbar curve remained partly corrected. Frontal pelvis and hip motion increased, contributing to an improvement of muscular mechanical work during walking. EMG activity duration of lumbopelvic muscles did not change except for the erector spinae muscles, which was decreased but without any beneficial change in the energy cost of walking. In summary, brace treatment, after 6 months, did not significantly influence the gait variables in AIS girls deleteriously, but did not reduce the excessive energy cost, which was 30% above the values of normal adolescents.
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    ABSTRACT: Anthropometric tables are not applicable to calculate the scoliotic trunk mass and center of mass (COM). The purposes of this study were: (1) to estimate the head and trunk mass and COM in able-bodied and scoliotic girls using a force plate method, (2) to estimate head and trunk COM offset compared to those of the body, and (3) the use of mean ratios to estimate the head and trunk COM calculated in this study and that calculated according to a conventional three-dimensional (3D) method compared to the measured values. Twenty-one scoliotic and twenty able-bodied girls participated. The subjects stood upright with arms beside the trunk on a force plate that collected data at 60Hz for a period of 5s. The anteroposterior and mediolateral positions of the body COM were obtained from the mean center of pressure values. The height of the body COM was estimated by the reaction board method. Afterwards a body segment was displaced and changes in force plate readings were recorded and applied to estimate the head and trunk mass and COM. Trunk offset was defined as the difference between the COM of the body and head and trunk. The measured head and trunk COM was compared to values obtained by the mean ratios calculated from this study and given by the conventional 3D method. The relative head and trunk mass and the anteroposterior trunk offset were larger in scoliotic girls. The force plate method gave similar results to measured COM values for both groups underlying its capability to provide a more accurate estimation of COM related values. Thus, the use of mean ratios of 0.5538 and 0.6438 obtained in this study to estimate the head and trunk mass and COM position in scoliotic girls can overcome the main drawbacks of current anthropometric methods, if direct measurements cannot be taken.
    Medical Engineering & Physics 06/2013; · 1.78 Impact Factor


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