Relieve Health Group

Relieve Health Group

Spina bifida is a congenital condition, meaning it is present at birth, that results from the incomplete formation or closure of the spinal column while the baby is still in the womb. This condition can potentially cause damage to the spinal cord and the meninges, which are the protective coverings of the brain and spinal cord. The most common and severe forms of spina bifida are myelomeningocele and lipomyelomeningocele. Children affected by these conditions often exhibit complex gait abnormalities due to varying degrees of lower extremity weakness, paralysis, and torsional deformities.

Gait, in simple terms, is the way a person walks. The pattern of our gait is influenced by several factors, including our muscle strength, joint flexibility, sense of balance, and overall health. In children with spina bifida, gait abnormalities can manifest in various ways, such as limping, toe-walking, or an asymmetrical walking pattern. These abnormalities are often the result of lower extremity weakness, paralysis, and torsional deformities, which are twisting or rotating deformities of the bones.

Accurate identification of gait pathologies and their underlying causes is a critical aspect of managing patients with spina bifida. Understanding the specific gait abnormalities can help healthcare professionals develop an effective treatment plan aimed at maintaining the child’s ambulatory and functional abilities. This is where gait analysis comes into play.

Gait analysis is a method used to assess and understand the mechanics of walking. It involves the use of specialized equipment and software to capture detailed data on the way a person walks. This data can then be analyzed to identify any abnormalities in the gait pattern, which can provide valuable insights into the underlying causes of these abnormalities.

In the context of spina bifida, gait analysis can be a powerful tool for pathology identification. By providing a detailed picture of the child’s walking pattern, it can help identify the specific areas of weakness or deformity that are contributing to the gait abnormalities. This information can then be used to guide the development of a personalized treatment plan, which may include physical therapy, assistive devices, or in some cases, surgery.

Moreover, gait analysis can also inform surgical recommendations for children with spina bifida. For instance, if the analysis reveals that a child’s gait abnormalities are primarily due to a specific torsional deformity, then surgery to correct this deformity may be recommended. On the other hand, if the gait abnormalities are mainly due to muscle weakness, then a different approach, such as physical therapy or muscle-strengthening exercises, may be more appropriate.

In conclusion, gait analysis plays a crucial role in the management of children with spina bifida. By providing a detailed understanding of the child’s gait abnormalities and their underlying causes, it can guide the development of effective treatment plans and inform surgical recommendations. Therefore, it is an invaluable tool for healthcare professionals working with this patient population, helping them to maintain the ambulatory and functional abilities of these children and ultimately, improve their quality of life.

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