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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 142323, 9 pages
Research Article

Lower-Limb Joint Coordination Pattern in Obese Subjects

1Department of Occupational Medicine, INAIL, Via Fontana Candida 1, Monte Porzio Catone, 00040 Rome, Italy
2Department of Experimental Medicine, Medical Physiopathology, Food Science and Endocrinology Section, Food Science and Human Nutrition Research Unit, Sapienza University of Rome, Ple Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy
3Villa delle Querce Clinical Rehabilitation Institute, Unit of Metabolic and Nutritional Rehabilitation, Via delle Vigne 19, Nemi, 00040 Rome, Italy
4Fondazione Don Gnocchi, 20148 Milan, Italy
5Rehabilitation Centre, Policlinico Italia, Piazza del Campidano 6, 00162 Rome, Italy
6Department of Medical and Surgical Science and Biotechnologies, Sapienza University of Rome, Via Faggiana 34, 40100 Latina, Italy

Received 13 August 2012; Accepted 29 October 2012

Academic Editor: Giuseppe Spinella

Copyright © 2013 Alberto Ranavolo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The coordinative pattern is an important feature of locomotion that has been studied in a number of pathologies. It has been observed that adaptive changes in coordination patterns are due to both external and internal constraints. Obesity is characterized by the presence of excess mass at pelvis and lower-limb areas, causing mechanical constraints that central nervous system could manage modifying the physiological interjoint coupling relationships. Since an altered coordination pattern may induce joint diseases and falls risk, the aim of this study was to analyze whether and how coordination during walking is affected by obesity. We evaluated interjoint coordination during walking in 25 obese subjects as well as in a control group. The time-distance parameters and joint kinematics were also measured. When compared with the control group, obese people displayed a substantial similarity in joint kinematic parameters and some differences in the time-distance and in the coupling parameters. Obese subjects revealed higher values in stride-to-stride intrasubjects variability in interjoint coupling parameters, whereas the coordinative mean pattern was unaltered. The increased variability in the coupling parameters is associated with an increased risk of falls and thus should be taken into account when designing treatments aimed at restoring a normal locomotion pattern.