Effect of restricted spinal motion on gait

Regina Konz*, Stefania Fatone, Steven Gard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Spinal orthoses are common in the treatment of various conditions that affect the spine. They encompass both the spine and pelvis and thus have implications for pelvic and lower-limb motion during walking in addition to a direct effect on spinal motion. The role of the spine in walking is largely ill-defined, and the consequences of restricted spinal motion on walking have yet to be explored. This study investigated the effect of spinal restriction on gait in able-bodied persons. Gait analyses were performed on 10 able-bodied subjects as they walked at five different speeds that were distributed across their comfortable range of speeds. Data were collected during walking with and without spinal restriction by a fiberglass body jacket, which is similar to a thoracolumbosacral orthosis (TLSO). With spinal restriction, peak-to-peak (PP) pelvic obliquity and rotation were significantly reduced across all walking speeds (p < 0.001), while PP pelvic tilt was significantly reduced at only the fastest walking speeds (p = 0.017). PP hip abduction-adduction motion was significantly reduced with spinal restriction across all speeds (p < 0.001), while PP hip flexion-extension significantly increased at only the slow and very slow speeds (p < 0.001 and p = 0.023, respectively). A better understanding of the effects of restricted spinal motion on gait may help clinicians predict and avoid development of additional problems from TLSO use or surgical restriction of spinal motion. An awareness of these issues will enable clinicians to monitor patients for problems that may result from decreased spine and pelvic motion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-170
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006


  • Braces
  • Gait
  • Immobilization
  • Locomotion
  • Orthotic devices
  • Spinal curvature
  • Spinal diseases
  • Spinal fusion
  • Spine
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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