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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 939316, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/939316
Research Article

Gait Patterns in Hemiplegic Patients with Equinus Foot Deformity

1Movement Analysis Laboratory, Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Department, Via della Fiera, 44124 Ferrara, Italy
2Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Unit, Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Via Pupilli 1, 40136 Bologna, Italy

Received 13 December 2013; Revised 11 March 2014; Accepted 12 March 2014; Published 22 April 2014

Academic Editor: Giovanni Morone

Copyright © 2014 M. Manca 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.

Abstract

Equinus deformity of the foot is a common feature of hemiplegia, which impairs the gait pattern of patients. The aim of the present study was to explore the role of ankle-foot deformity in gait impairment. A hierarchical cluster analysis was used to classify the gait patterns of 49 chronic hemiplegic patients with equinus deformity of the foot, based on temporal-distance parameters and joint kinematic measures obtained by an innovative protocol for motion assessment in the sagittal, frontal, and transverse planes, synthesized by parametrical analysis. Cluster analysis identified five subgroups of patients with homogenous levels of dysfunction during gait. Specific joint kinematic abnormalities were found, according to the speed of progression in each cluster. Patients with faster walking were those with less ankle-foot complex impairment or with reduced range of motion of ankle-foot complex, that is with a stiff ankle-foot complex. Slow walking was typical of patients with ankle-foot complex instability (i.e., larger motion in all the planes), severe equinus and hip internal rotation pattern, and patients with hip external rotation pattern. Clustering of gait patterns in these patients is helpful for a better understanding of dysfunction during gait and delivering more targeted treatment.