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: 2.07). 05/2009; 18(8):1160-8. DOI: 10.1007/s00586-009-1002-0
Source: PubMed


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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    • "Data are expressed as means (standard deviation) for all variables. The sample size was based on a previous study (Mahaudens et al. 2009) that reported a net C w of 2.4 (0.4) J kg −1 m −1 and 1.8 (0.3) J kg −1 m −1 in adolescents with or without idiopathic scoliosis, respectively. To detect a 0.6 J kg −1 m −1 difference with a standard deviation of 0.4 J kg −1 m −1 , 90 % power and at the 5 % significance level, a minimum of 11 participants in both study groups was required. "
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    ABSTRACT: Walking in patients with chronic low back pain (cLBP) is characterized by motor control adaptations as a protective strategy against further injury or pain. The purpose of this study was to compare the preferred walking speed, the biomechanical and the energetic parameters of walking at different speeds between patients with cLBP and healthy men individually matched for age, body mass and height. Energy cost of walking was assessed with a breath-by-breath gas analyser; mechanical and spatiotemporal parameters of walking were computed using two inertial sensors equipped with a triaxial accelerometer and gyroscope and compared in 13 men with cLBP and 13 control men (CTR) during treadmill walking at standard (0.83, 1.11, 1.38, 1.67 m s(-1)) and preferred (PWS) speeds. Low back pain intensity (visual analogue scale, cLBP only) and perceived exertion (Borg scale) were assessed at each walking speed. PWS was slower in cLBP [1.17 (SD = 0.13) m s(-1)] than in CTR group [1.33 (SD = 0.11) m s(-1); P = 0.002]. No significant difference was observed between groups in mechanical work (P ≥ 0.44), spatiotemporal parameters (P ≥ 0.16) and energy cost of walking (P ≥ 0.36). At the end of the treadmill protocol, perceived exertion was significantly higher in cLBP [11.7 (SD = 2.4)] than in CTR group [9.9 (SD = 1.1); P = 0.01]. Pain intensity did not significantly increase over time (P = 0.21). These results do not support the hypothesis of a less efficient walking pattern in patients with cLBP and imply that high walking speeds are well tolerated by patients with moderately disabling cLBP.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Arbeitsphysiologie
    • "Interestingly , no significant alterations in lower extremity kinematics during gait were observed at the one-year assessment for spinal deformity. Furthermore, significant improvement in muscle efficiency (i.e., total work measured by mechanical work from muscles to perform walking divided by energy cost measured by oxygen consumption during walking (Mahaudens et al., 2009)) was observed following spinal deformity fusion surgery (Tables 1 and 2). Focusing on electromyography (EMG) data during walking, a reduction in asymmetry of upper body muscle activation was discovered following spinal fusion surgery in patients with scoliosis (Hopf et al., 1998); however, no significant differences were found in either the lower extremity or the postural muscle activity duration prior to and following surgery (Tables 1 and 2). "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective motor performance measures, especially gait assessment, could improve evaluation of low back disorder surgeries. However, no study has compared the relative effectiveness of gait parameters for assessing motor performance in low back disorders after surgery. The purpose of the current review was to determine the sensitive gait parameters that address physical improvements in each specific spinal disorder after surgical intervention. Articles were searched with the following inclusion criteria: 1) population studied consisted of individuals with low back disorders requiring surgery; 2) low back disorder was measured objectively using gait assessment tests pre- and post-surgery. The quality of the selected studies was assessed using Delphi consensus, and meta-analysis was performed to compare pre- and post-surgical changes. Thirteen articles met inclusion criteria, which, almost exclusively, addressed two types of spinal disorders/interventions: 1) scoliosis/spinal fusion; and 2) stenosis/decompression. For patients with scoliosis, improvements in hip and shoulder motion (effect size=0.32-1.58), energy expenditure (effect size=0.59-1.18), and activity symmetry of upper-body muscles during gait were present after spinal fusion. For patients with spinal stenosis, increases in gait speed, stride length, cadence, symmetry, walking smoothness, and walking endurance (effect size=0.60-2.50), and decrease in gait variability (effect size=1.45) were observed after decompression surgery. For patients with scoliosis, gait improvements can be better assessed by measuring upper-body motion and EMG rather than the lower extremities. For patients with spinal stenosis, motor performance improvements can be captured by measuring walking spatio-temporal parameters, gait patterns, and walking endurance. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Clinical biomechanics (Bristol, Avon)
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    • "compute the joint center locations (Cartesian coordinates) of the pelvis, the hip, the knee and the ankle as proposed by Davis et al., 1991[4]. Then, from the Cartesian coordinates of the joint centers, the joint coordinates q, are numerically determined by a global optimisation method (GOM) as proposed by Lu et al., 1999[4] that estimates the joint coordinates of the multibody model that best fit the experimental joint centers positions [1]. The optimal pose of the multibody model is computed for each data frame such that the difference between the experimental and model-determined marker coordinates is globally minimized in a least squares sense. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: The quantification of internal joint efforts could be essential in the development of rehabilitation tools for patients with musculo-skeletal pathologies, such as scoliosis. In this context, the aim of this study was to compare the hips joint mediolateral forces during gait, between healthy subjects and adolescents with left lumbar or thoracolumbar scoliosis (AIS), categorized by their Cobb angle (CA). Material and methods: Twelve healthy subjects, 12 AIS with CA between 20° and 40° and 16 AIS in pre-operative condition (CA : > 40°) walked at 4 km/h on an instrumented treadmill. The experimental set-up include six infrared cameras allow the computation of the tridimensional (3D) angular displacement and strain gauges located under the motor-driven treadmill allow the computation of ground reaction forces (GRF). The hips joint mediolateral forces were calculated using a 3D inverse dynamic of human body. One-way ANOVA was performed for the maximum, the minimum and the range of medio-lateral forces at each joint of the lower limbs. When appropriate, a Tukey's post hoc was performed to determine the differences. Results: The mediolateral forces were significantly lower at the right hip for AIS with CA between 20° and 40° compared to healthy subject. Conclusion: The spinal deformation leads to a reduced medio-lateral force at the right hip, which could gradually change the scheme of postural adjustments for AIS during gait. Further research on the quantification of the joint lower limb efforts should include the knee and ankle joints to evaluate the impact of spinal deformation on the lower limb dynamic behaviour in AIS patients.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Jun 2014
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