source: Gait & Posture
Goudriaan M, Van den Hauwe M, Simon-Martinez C, Huenaerts C, Molenaers G, Goemans N, Desloovere K
Prolonged ambulation is considered important in children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). However, previous studies analyzing DMD gait were sensitive to false positive outcomes, caused by uncorrected multiple comparisons, regional focus bias, and inter-component covariance bias. Also, while muscle weakness is often suggested to be the main cause for the altered gait pattern in DMD, this was never verified.
Our research question was twofold: 1) are we able to confirm the sagittal kinematic and kinetic gait alterations described in a previous review with statistical non-parametric mapping (SnPM)? And 2) are these gait deviations related to lower limb weakness?
We compared gait kinematics and kinetics of 15 children with DMD and 15 typical developing (TD) children (5-17 years), with a two sample Hotelling’s T2 test and post-hoc two-tailed, two-sample t-test. We used canonical correlation analyses to study the relationship between weakness and altered gait parameters. For all analyses, α-level was corrected for multiple comparisons, resulting in α = 0.005.
We only found one of the previously reported kinematic deviations: the children with DMD had an increased knee flexion angle during swing (p = 0.0006). Observed gait deviations that were not reported in the review were an increased hip flexion angle during stance (p = 0.0009) and swing (p = 0.0001), altered combined knee and ankle torques (p = 0.0002), and decreased power absorption during stance (p = 0.0001). No relationships between weakness and these gait deviations were found.
We were not able to replicate the gait deviations in DMD previously reported in literature, thus DMD gait remains undefined. Further, weakness does not seem to be linearly related to altered gait features. The progressive nature of the disease requires larger study populations and longitudinal analyses to gain more insight into DMD gait and its underlying causes.
KU Leuven - University of Leuven, Belgium; University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium