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Gait Posture. 2019 Feb;68:506-513. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2018.12.040. Epub 2018 Dec 28.

What are the biomechanical consequences of a structural leg length discrepancy on the adolescent spine during walking?

Author information

1
Bern University of Applied Sciences, Department of Health Professions, Bern, Switzerland; Physio Hildebrandt, Sickingerstrasse 4, 3014 Bern, Switzerland.
2
University of Basel Children's Hospital, Laboratory for Movement Analysis, Basel, Switzerland.
3
ETH Zurich, Institute for Biomechanics, Zurich, Switzerland; Swiss Federal Institute of Sport Magglingen SFISM, Magglingen, Switzerland.
4
University of Basel Children's Hospital, Orthopedic Department, Basel, Switzerland.
5
University of Basel Children's Hospital, Laboratory for Movement Analysis, Basel, Switzerland; University of Basel Children's Hospital, Orthopedic Department, Basel, Switzerland.
6
Bern University of Applied Sciences, Department of Health Professions, Bern, Switzerland; ETH Zurich, Institute for Biomechanics, Zurich, Switzerland. Electronic address: stefanschmid79@gmail.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Structural leg length discrepancy (LLD) is a common phenomenon. However, its effect on spinal gait kinematics remains unclear.

RESEARCH QUESTION:

How does LLD affect spinal gait kinematics in patients with structural LLD and what is the immediate effect of a shoe lift?.

METHODS:

10 adolescents with structural LLD (20-60 mm) and 14 healthy controls were included. All of whom were fitted with a trunk marker set and requested to walk barefoot as well as with an orthotic shoe lift (only patients). Data were collected using a 12-camera motion capture system. Group comparisons were conducted using one-dimensional Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM).

RESULTS:

Patients with LLD showed statistically significant increased frontal plane lumbar bending angles to the longer side (p = 0.007), increased pelvic drop on the shorter side (p < 0.001) and increased hip adduction angles on the longer leg (p < 0.001) compared to the healthy controls. In the sagittal plane, patients demonstrated changed knee (shorter leg) and ankle joint (longer leg) motion. All gait deviations observed in patients with LLD could immediately be altered by correcting the LLD using a shoe lift.

SIGNIFICANCE:

Due to the LLD, patients showed a lateral pelvic drop on the shorter side, which appeared to be compensated for by a contralateral bending in the lumbar spine and a lateral shift of the pelvis towards the longer side. In addition, the use of an orthotic correction seems to be a suitable option to instantly normalize gait kinematics in patients with mild to moderate LLD.

KEYWORDS:

Biomechanics; Compensation; Gait; Orthosis; Trunk

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