Background: Gait abnormalities have been reported in individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) however no studies exist to date investigating the kinematics of individuals with CFS in over-ground gait. The aim of this study was to compare the over-ground gait pattern (sagittal kinematics and temporal and spatial) of individuals with CFS and control subjects at their self-selected and at matched velocities.
Methods: Twelve individuals with CFS and 12 matched controls participated in the study. Each subject walked along a 7.2m walkway three times at each of three velocities: self-selected, relatively slow (0.45 ms-1) and a relatively fast (1.34 ms-1). A motion analysis system was used to investigate the sagittal plane joint kinematics and temporal spatial parameters of gait.
Results: At self-selected velocity there were significant differences between the two groups for all the temporal and spatial parameters measured, including gait velocity (P=0.002).
For the kinematic variables the significant differences were related to both ankles during swing and the right ankle during stance.
At the relatively slower velocity the kinematic differences were replicated.
However, the step distances decreased in the CFS population for the temporal and spatial parameters.
When the gait pattern of the individuals with CFS at the relatively fast walking velocity (1.30 +/- 0.24ms-1) was compared to the control subjects at their self-selected velocity (1.32+/- 0.15ms-1) the gait pattern of the two groups was very similar, with the exception of both ankles during swing.
Conclusions: The self-selected gait velocity and/or pattern of individuals with CFS may be used to monitor the disease process or evaluate therapeutic intervention. These differences may be a reflection of the relatively low self-selected gait velocity of individuals with CFS rather than a manifestation of the condition itself.
Source: Journal of neuroengineering and rehabilitation, May 27 2008, 5(16) PMID: 9543318, by Paul L Rafferty D, Wood L, Maclaren W. Institute of Medical Pathophysiology, University G. D'Annunzio, Chieti, Italy.