Men and women with Down syndrome exhibit different kinematic (but not spatio-temporal) gait patterns

M. Pau, C. Condoluci, M. Zago, M. Galli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Gait phenotypes are well documented in people with Down syndrome (pwDS), but sex-related differences are still unexplored. This study investigated the existence of possible differences in spatio-temporal and kinematic parameters of gait between men and women with DS using quantitative three-dimensional gait analysis. Methods: Gait patterns of 117 pwDS (53 F, 64 M) who underwent a computerised gait analysis from 2002 to 2017 were retrospectively analysed to obtain spatio-temporal gait parameters and kinematics in the sagittal plane at hip, knee and ankle joints, as well as foot progression. Results: Overall, when considered as a single group, the gait patterns found for pwDS confirmed the findings of previous studies. However, when analysed by sex, our data revealed that women with DS exhibit a larger hip flexion at late stance (42% to 54% of the gait cycle) and reduced knee flexion at the beginning of the swing phase (61% to 69% of the gait cycle). In contrast, men are characterised by larger foot extra-rotation angles through most of the stance phase (from 0% to 55% of the gait cycle) and at the end of the swing phase (92% to 99% of the gait cycle). No differences between men and women with DS were found concerning ankle dorsi- plantar-flexion or in all spatio-temporal parameters normalised by individuals' anthropometry, excluding cadence (higher in women). Conclusions: The findings of the present study highlight the need to investigate gait dysfunctions in pwDS by taking their sex into consideration. Such an approach may be useful not only in gaining a better understanding of the pathophysiology of gait disturbances associated with DS but also in supporting a better orientation of rehabilitative treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-71
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2018


  • female and male, Down syndrome (DS)
  • gait
  • kinematics
  • spatio-temporal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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