Effect of trunk sagittal attitude on shoulder, thorax and pelvis three-dimensional kinematics in able-bodied subjects during gait.

Alberto Leardini, Lisa Berti, Mickaël Begon, Paul Allard

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It has been shown that an original attitude in forward or backward inclination of the trunk is maintained at gait initiation and during locomotion, and that this affects lower limb loading patterns. However, no studies have shown the extent to which shoulder, thorax and pelvis three-dimensional kinematics are modified during gait due to this sagittal inclination attitude. Thirty young healthy volunteers were analyzed during level walking with video-based motion analysis. Reflecting markers were mounted on anatomical landmarks to form a two-marker shoulder line segment, and a four-marker thorax and pelvis segments. Absolute and relative spatial rotations were calculated, for a total of 11 degrees of freedom. The subjects were divided into two groups of 15 according to the median of mean thorax inclination angle over the gait cycle. Preliminary MANOVA analysis assessed whether gender was an independent variable. Then two-factor nested ANOVA was used to test the possible effect of thorax inclination on body segments, planes of motion and gait periods, separately. There was no significant difference in all anthropometric and spatio-temporal parameters between the two groups, except for subject mass. The three-dimensional kinematics of the thorax and pelvis were not affected by gender. Nested ANOVA revealed group effect in all segment rotations apart those at the pelvis, in the sagittal and frontal planes, and at the push-off. Attitudes in sagittal thorax inclination altered trunk segments kinematics during gait. Subjects with a backward thorax showed less thorax-to-pelvis motion, but more shoulder-to-thorax and thorax-to-laboratory motion, less motion in flexion/extension and in lateral bending, and also less motion during push-off. This contributes to the understanding of forward propulsion and sideways load transfer mechanisms, fundamental for the maintenance of balance and the risk of falling.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere77168
JournalPLoS One
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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