TitleEffects of Down syndrome on three-dimensional motion during walking at different speeds.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsAgiovlasitis, S, McCubbin, JA, Yun, J, Mpitsos, G, Pavol, M
JournalGait Posture
Date Published10/2009
KeywordsAdolescent, Adult, Analysis of Variance, Biomechanical Phenomena, Down Syndrome, Energy Metabolism, Female, Gait Disorders, Neurologic, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Postural Balance, Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted, Walking

The inherent joint laxity and muscle hypotonia of adults with Down syndrome (DS) may result in reduced gait stability and increased energetic cost. These factors vary as a function of walking speed and may be reflected in gait patterns. The present study therefore examined whether the three-dimensional motion of the body center of mass (COM) and stepping characteristics differ between adults with and without DS as a function of speed. Fifteen adults with DS and 15 adults without DS underwent a series of treadmill walking trials. Walking speeds were determined as Froude numbers, based on leg length. Participants walked at Froude numbers of 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, and, for adults without DS, 0.7. Whole-body kinematic data were collected for 30-35 steps at each speed. Across speeds, adults with DS showed greater and more variable mediolateral COM motion than adults without DS. COM anteroposterior velocity and vertical motion did not differ in range between groups, but were more variable in adults with DS. Adults with DS also showed smaller-duration steps and varied their step widths and step lengths more than adults without DS. The results suggest a gait pattern with lesser stability and greater energetic cost among adults with DS.

Alternate JournalGait Posture
PubMed ID19595593