The upper body segmental movements during walking by young females

Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2003 Jun;18(5):419-25. doi: 10.1016/s0268-0033(03)00028-7.


Objectives: To characterise the physiological pattern of trunk and shoulders movements during walking and provide a reference for further studies on spine deformities.

Design: Implementation of a model for measuring spine and shoulder girdle movements during gait. Data collection on a population of eighteen, young, healthy, female subjects.

Background: The analysis of gait modifications in subjects with idiopathic scoliosis could offer an insight to better understand the functional relationship with the pathology.

Methods: Retroreflective markers were positioned on the main spine processes and acromions to be detected by a TV-based motion analysis system. A model of kinematic computation was implemented and integrated in a previously developed protocol for multifactorial gait analysis. Movements in the main reference planes and in relation to pelvis were analysed.

Results: The trunk was on average bent forward by 3.4 degrees with respect to standing; of the two physiological curves in the sagittal plane only lordosis changed during walking; in the frontal plane, a dynamic spine deformation appeared, that was maximum at heel strike-early stance; the trunk was bent controlaterally of the foot on the ground, while the shoulders remained stable; in the horizontal plane, the shoulders rotated contralaterally to the pelvis.

Conclusions: In our population all the segmental movements analysed were smaller than 5 degrees during gait, except the angle of proximal curvature in the frontal plane, shoulder rotation, and angle between shoulders and pelvis; all the measured angles were far below their possible ranges of motion.

Relevance: Quantitative data on upper body kinematics as a complement to gait analysis can help understanding movement disorders and compensation strategies in several pathologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Shoulder / physiology*
  • Spine / physiology*
  • Walking / physiology