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Gait Posture. 2007 Oct;26(4):532-8. Epub 2007 Jan 5.

Muscle length and lengthening velocity in voluntary crouch gait.

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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, VU University Medical Center, P.O. Box 7057, 1007 MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The purpose of this study was to explore how origin-insertion length and lengthening velocity of hamstring and psoas muscle change as a result of crouch gait. The second purpose was to study the effect of changes in walking speed, in crouch, on muscle lengths and velocities. Eight healthy female subjects walked on a treadmill both normally and in crouch. In the crouch condition, subjects walked at three different walking speeds. 3D kinematic data were collected and muscle lengths and velocities were calculated using musculoskeletal modeling. It was found that voluntary walking in crouch resulted in shorter psoas length compared to normal, but not in shorter hamstrings length. Moreover, crouch gait did not result in slower muscle lengthening velocities compared to normal gait. These results do not support the role of hamstrings shortness or spasticity in causing crouch gait. Decreasing walking speed clearly reduced muscle lengths and lengthening velocities. Therefore, patients with short or spastic muscles are more likely to respond by walking slower than by walking in crouch. Also, differences in walking speed should be avoided as a confounding factor when comparing patient groups with controls.

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