Compensatory sagittal plane ankle gait mechanics: Are they present in patients with a weak or stiff hip?

Wilshaw R. Stevens, David A. Podeszwa, Kirsten Tulchin-Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Simulations suggest that subjects with reduced hip range of motion (ROM) and/or weakness can achieve more normal walking mechanics through compensations at the ankle. The aims of this study were to assess whether subjects with reduced hip ROM (Stiff hip) or hip flexor weakness (Weak hip) exhibit ankle compensations during walking and investigate redistribution of power in the lower extremity joints. Methods: Retrospective gait data were reviewed (IRB-approved hip registry). Preoperative kinematic/kinetic walking data were collected in patients with: adolescent hip dysplasia (AHD), femoral acetabular impingement (FAI), and Legg-Calvé Perthes disease (Perthes). AHD patients with significantly weak hip flexors on their affected side were included (Weak hip group). The Gait Profile Score (GPS) was calculated on the affected side of the FAI and Perthes groups to identify patients who had a Stiff hip. Patients who had undergone a hip arthrodesis (Fusion) were also included (Stiff hip group). Ankle kinematics/kinetics were compared to healthy participants (Control). The total positive work of sagittal plane hip, knee and ankle power were compared along with the distribution of power. Results: Patients in the Weak/Stiff hip groups did not walk with greater ankle plantarflexion, peak push-off power or positive ankle work on their affected sides compared to Control. Ankle work contribution (percentage of total positive work) on the affected or unaffected sides was greater in the Perthes and Hip Fusion patients compared to Control. Significant gait abnormalities on the unaffected side were observed. Conclusions: Patients with a weak or stiff hip did exhibit altered ankle mechanics during walking. Greater percent ankle work contribution appeared to correspond with hip stiffness. In patients with hip pathology the redistribution of power among the lower extremity joints can highlight the importance of preserving ankle function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-254
Number of pages5
JournalGait and Posture
StatePublished - Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Abnormality
  • Gait
  • Hip
  • Plantarflexor
  • Work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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