Treadmill stepping in infants born prematurely

Early Hum Dev. 1994 Nov 18;39(3):211-23. doi: 10.1016/0378-3782(94)90199-6.


Premature infants stepped on a treadmill as early as 1-month corrected age and they performed more coordinated alternate steps than their full-term peers. Twelve low-risk premature infants were observed at 1-, 6- and 9-months corrected-age. The infants were supported on a treadmill for five 20-s trials at three speeds. The following data were analysed from the video records: (1) Leg postures in treadmill-moving and non-moving trials, (2) various parameters of limb position and movement during each step cycle, and (3) multiple anthropometric measures. Premature infants at all ages performed coordinated alternating steps which responded to changes in speed. The premature infants had more extended leg postures during non-stepping analysis than they did once the swing was initiated. Low-risk premature birth did not interfere with the neuromotor pathway. Experience out-of-utero may have facilitated stepping.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Exercise Test
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn / physiology
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Leg / physiology
  • Locomotion / physiology
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Posture / physiology
  • Videotape Recording
  • Walking / physiology*