Nicole Vigon, “Evaluation of Joint Dynamics During Gait in Children with Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome”
Mentor: Brooke Slavens, Occupational Science & Technology
Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) is an inherited connective tissue disorder caused by a defect in the protein collagen. This disorder affects as many as 1 in 5000 people worldwide. Symptoms include excessive range of motion, dislocation, and instability in joints, which leads to early-onset osteoarthritis. There is currently a lack of knowledge on the functional effects of these symptoms on gait in children with hEDS. This study aims to quantify gait, in an effort to contribute to defining the biomedical phenotype of hEDS. Eight children with hEDS (mean age of 14 years) were recruited from the Genetics Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. The subjects underwent three-dimensional motion analysis using a 15-camera Vicon T Series system with 14 retro-reflective markers. The subjects completed multiple walking trials at a self-selected speed along a 30-ft walkway. Data was labeled, filtered, and modeled using Vicon Nexus software and the lower extremity Plug-in Gait model for five gait cycles per subject. The group mean for stride length, walking speed, stance duration, and cadence were 1.27 ± 0.156 m, 1.24 ± 0.067 m/s, 37.78 ± 1.94% and 59.46 ± 7.19 strides/min, respectively. For the ankle, the group mean for sagittal plane range of motion and peak dorsiflexion moment were 38 degrees and 1.41 Nm/kg, respectively. While the temporal spatial parameters were within normal ranges, as reported in the literature, inspection of subject specific metrics were found to be different. Identification of differences between those with hEDS and healthy individuals may provide insight to determine the underlying mechanisms of pain and injury, to mitigate the risk for early-onset osteoarthritis. Quantitative gait analysis findings will provide rehabilitation engineers, therapists, and physicians with a better understanding of pathological human movement. This work will lead to improved diagnosis and rehabilitation for children with hEDS.