Impact of Scoliosis on Gait

  • Elizabeth A. Rapp
  • Peter G. Gabos
Reference work entry


Scoliosis is one of the most common orthopedic disorders in children and adolescents. The idiopathic classification has been studied at length in hopes of identifying factors contributing to the origin and progression of the disease. Gait analysis is frequently employed to analyze the balance and movement abnormalities associated with the disorder. While the majority of gait studies in scoliosis note some deviations from normal gait, specific conclusions are often based on weak or inconsistent evidence. The most widely reported findings include restricted motion of the pelvis and hip and an asymmetrical rotation of the trunk as well as general asymmetry between limbs. Additionally, energy cost and muscle activation are higher during scoliotic gait than in normal walking. These differences seem to improve with both orthotic and surgical treatment, although postoperative adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis still maintain a higher-energy cost of walking than their typically developing peers. Ultimately, the relationship between gait abnormalities and the origin or progression of the scoliotic curve remains unclear. The idea of a neurological dysfunction that contributes to both the spinal deformity and the gait deviation is predominantly rooted in theory. Still, future research into motor control and somatosensory function during gait may provide more insight into a neurological influence in the scoliosis population.


Gait Idiopathic scoliosis Spinal deformity Scoliotic gait Kinematics Asymmetry Kinetics Dynamic balance Proprioception Muscle activity Curve severity Bracing Spinal fusion Energy cost 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of DelawareNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Nemours A.I. duPont Hospital for ChildrenWilmingtonUSA

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