The influence of forearm crutches on pelvic and hip kinematics in children with myelomeningocele: don't throw away the crutches

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1997 Sep;39(9):614-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.1997.tb07497.x.


Gait analysis was performed on 16 children with high-sacral-level myelomeningocele who walked with and without crutches to evaluate the influence of crutches on their unique walking pattern. All of the patients used solid ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs). Deviations in coronal and transverse planes improved with assisted walking. The timing of stance phase pelvic depression and the magnitude of stance phase hip abduction improved with crutch walking. Pelvic rotation, which was seven times the normal range of motion during no-crutch walking, decreased to four times normal with crutches. Walking velocity was not significantly different between conditions. The results demonstrated that deviations in pelvic and hip kinematics are related to muscle weakness and improve with crutch use. Crutches enable the patient to transfer some weight bearing to their upper extremities which decreases the demand on weak lower-extremity musculature. This allows them to maintain functional ambulation with a closer to normal gait pattern.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Crutches*
  • Female
  • Gait*
  • Hip Joint / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meningomyelocele / physiopathology*
  • Meningomyelocele / rehabilitation
  • Pelvis / physiopathology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Walking
  • Weight-Bearing