, Volume 49, Issue 7, pp 801-809
Date: 13 Jan 2011

Impaired gait in ankylosing spondylitis

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Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic, inflammatory rheumatic disease. The spine becomes rigid from the occiput to the sacrum, leading to a stooped position. This study aims at evaluating AS subjects gait alterations. Twenty-four subjects were evaluated: 12 normal and 12 pathologic in stabilized anti-TNF-alpha treatment (mean age 49.42 (10.47), 25.44 (3.19) and mean body mass index 55.75 (3.19), 23.73 (2.7), respectively). Physical examination and gait analysis were performed. A motion capture system synchronized with two force plates was used. Three-dimensional kinematics and kinetics of trunk, pelvis, hip, knee and ankle were determined during gait. A trend towards reduction was found in gait velocity and stride length. Gait analysis results showed statistically significant alterations in the sagittal plane at each joint for AS patients (P < 0.049). Hip and knee joint extension moments showed a statistically significant reduction (P < 0.044). At the ankle joint, a decreased plantarflexion was assessed (P < 0.048) together with the absence of the heel rocker. Gait analysis, through gait alterations identification, allowed planning-specific rehabilitation intervention aimed to prevent patients’ stiffness together with improve balance and avoid muscles’ fatigue.