The upper body segmental movements during walking by young females

C. Frigo, R. Carabalona, M. Dalla Mura, S. Negrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives. To characterise the physiological pattern of trunk and shoulders movements during walking and provide a reference for further studies on spine deformities. Design. Implementation of a model for measuring spine and shoulder girdle movements during gait. Data collection on a population of eighteen, young, healthy, female subjects. Background. The analysis of gait modifications in subjects with idiopathic scoliosis could offer an insight to better understand the functional relationship with the pathology. Methods. Retroreflective markers were positioned on the main spine processes and acromions to be detected by a TV-based motion analysis system. A model of kinematic computation was implemented and integrated in a previously developed protocol for multifactorial gait analysis. Movements in the main reference planes and in relation to pelvis were analysed. Results. The trunk was on average bent forward by 3.4° with respect to standing; of the two physiological curves in the sagittal plane only lordosis changed during walking; in the frontal plane, a dynamic spine deformation appeared, that was maximum at heel strike-early stance; the trunk was bent controlaterally of the foot on the ground, while the shoulders remained stable; in the horizontal plane, the shoulders rotated contralaterally to the pelvis. Conclusions. In our population all the segmental movements analysed were smaller than 5° during gait, except the angle of proximal curvature in the frontal plane, shoulder rotation, and angle between shoulders and pelvis; all the measured angles were far below their possible ranges of motion. Relevance: Quantitative data on upper body kinematics as a complement to gait analysis can help understanding movement disorders and compensation strategies in several pathologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-425
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Biomechanics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003


  • Gait analysis
  • Shoulder girdle movements
  • Spine mobility
  • Upper body movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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