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Keywords:

  • Cerebellum;
  • Degeneration;
  • Gait;
  • Ataxia;
  • Multijoint coordination

Abstract

The gait pattern in 10 patients with cerebellar degenerations was studied and the results were compared with 10 matched normal subjects, seeking the principal patterns in this disorder. Gait at natural speed was studied in a biomechanics laboratory using a video-based kinematic data acquisition system for measuring body movements. Patients showed a reduced step and stride length with a trend to reduced cadence. Heel off time, toe off time, and time of peak flexion of the knee in swing were all delayed. Range of motion of ankle, knee, and hip were all reduced, but only ankle range of motion reached significance. Multijoint coordination was impaired, as indicated by a relatively greater delay of plantar flexion of the ankle compared with flexion of the knee and a relatively late knee flexion compared with hip flexion at the onset of swing. The patients also showed increased variability of almost all measures. Although some of the deviations from normal were simply the result of slowness of walking, the gait pattern of patients with cerebellar degeneration shows incoordination similar to that previously described for their multijoint limb motion.