Gait and postural control patterns and rehabilitation in Down syndrome: a systematic review

Matteo Zago, Natalia Almeida Carvalho Duarte, Luanda André Collange Grecco, Claudia Condoluci, Claudia Santos Oliveira, Manuela Galli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


[Purpose] To describe (1) the current knowledge on gait and postural control in individuals with Down syndrome in terms of spatiotemporal, kinematics and kinetics, and (2) relevant rehabilitation strategies. [Methods] Randomized and non-randomized clinical trials published between January 1997 and October 2019 were selected by searching four scientific databases. We included studies on patients with Down syndrome involving gait analysis or postural control. A custom data-extraction and appraisal form was developed to collect the key features of each article. The PEDro Scale was used to evaluate the methodological quality of the studies. [Results] A total of 37 out of 146 cross-sectional and longitudinal studies were included in the review. The main abnormalities included: reduction of gait velocity and step length, poor static balance with increased anteroposterior and mediolateral oscillations and a larger step width. [Conclusion] A number of compensatory patterns during movement was observed, with a direct influence on improvements in stability and postural control throughout daily life. Intensive gait training at an early age appears to produce long-term improvements in this population. Future research should focus on the interaction between the motor and cognitive function, and on the functional effects due to the exposure to an enriched environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-314
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Physical Therapy Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


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