Aim: The aim of this study was to determine if stomatognathic functions correlate with alterations in walking function, that are detectable through the analysis of walking.
Methods: The study enrolled 24 Caucasian adult females (mean age 27.9+/-4.5), asymptomatic for temporomandibular and muscular disorders and 20 Caucasian adult females with temporomandibular joint disorders (TMDs). The analysis of walking was performed under three different experimental conditions: 1) mandibular rest position (RP); 2) habitual dental occlusion (DO); 3) cotton rolls between the upper and the lower dental arches (CRs).
Results: The mean pressure during walking, measured as g/cm(2), on the theoretical barycentre, the percentage of loading on the left and the right feet (measured as %) and the loading surface, measured as mm(2), under the right and the left feet, were recorded as posturographic parameters. Generally, no difference was found in any of these parameters in the mean pressure during walking in the different considered conditions; only when two cotton rolls were positioned between the dental arches the load pressure was found to be significantly higher in the TMD patients than in the control subjects (P<0.05). In addition, in the same condition, TMD subjects showed a significantly smaller loading surface than control subjects, both under the right and the left feet.
Conclusion: TMDs seem to be associated to detectable alterations of the walking function.