Differences in Gait between Children with and Without Developmental Coordination Disorder

in Motor Control
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In the present study the walking pattern of 10 children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) was investigated and compared to that of 10 typically developing, matched control children. All children walked at a similar velocity that was scaled to the length of the leg on a motor-driven treadmill. Three-dimensional kinematics were recorded with a motion capture digital camera system. The spatiotemporal parameters of the gait pattern revealed that children with DCD walked with shorter steps and at a higher frequency than the typically developing children. In addition, the children with DCD exhibited a body configuration that demonstrated increased trunk inclination during the entire gait cycle and enhanced during the entire gait cycle. At toe-off a less pronounced plantar flexion of the ankle was observed in children with DCD. In conclusion, it appeared that children with DCD make adaptations to their gait pattern on a treadmill to compensate for problems with neuromuscular and/or balance control. These adaptations seem to result in a safer walking strategy where the compromise between equilibrium and propulsion is different compared to typically developing children.

Deconinck, De Clercq, and Lenoir are with the Dept of Movement and Sports Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences-Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium. Savelsbergh is with the Institute for Fundamental and Clinical Human Movement Sciences, Faculty of Human Movement Sciences-Vrije Universieit, 1081 BT Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Van Coster is with the Dept of Pediatrics and Medical Genetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences-Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium. Oostra and Dewitte are with the Centre for Developmental Disorders, Campus Heymans-UZ, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.