Description of spine motion during gait in normal adolescents and young adults

Eur Spine J. 2021 Sep;30(9):2520-2530. doi: 10.1007/s00586-021-06918-w. Epub 2021 Jul 10.


Introduction: Standing radiographs allow analysis of spinal segments and their relative positioning. However, it requires a specific positioning influencing spinal alignment. Knowledge of trunk movements when walking is therefore an essential step to evaluate dynamic sagittal balance. Our objective was to define spinal junction kinematics and their correlations during gait in a healthy population.

Method: This is a prospective, single-center study. Between 2015 and 2017, 25 healthy volunteers were included. The measurements were taken in a motion analysis laboratory. Several kinematic parameters were studied, including spinal junction movements in the three planes and dynamic sagittal vertical axis (Dyn-SVA). Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated to determine the interactions between the spinal junctions.

Results: In the sagittal plane, the average amplitude of variation of the dyn-SVA was 25.5 cm (SD = 8.9). The average range of motion of the lumbosacral and thoracolumbar junction was approximately 3°, they operated in anti-phase during the gait cycle and were strongly correlated (r = -0.5069, p = 0.01). In the transverse plane, the anti-rotation of the upper body relative to the pelvis was mainly ensured by the opposite movements of the lumbosacral and thoracolumbar junction (r = 0.5689, p = 0.003). In the frontal plane, the lateral inclination in the lumbar region was made in the opposite direction from the pelvis toward the carrying member.

Conclusion: Although there is substantial inter-subject variability, our study characterized the angular movements in the three planes of the different spinal junctions, of the pelvis and the lower limbs during a gait cycle in a healthy population.

Keywords: Dynamic sagittal balance; Gait cycle; Spinal junction; Trunk motion.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Gait*
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Spine* / diagnostic imaging
  • Walking
  • Young Adult