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Gait Analysis of Patients with Low Back Pain Before and After Surgery

Khodadadeh, Soussan, MSc, PhD*; Eisenstein, Stephen M., MB BCh, PhD, FRCS (Ed)

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Gait analysis could be a good objective and quantifiable assessment of function in patients with chronic low back pain. A study of the gait parameters of 20 normal subjects and 30 patients with low back pain, before and 2 years after surgery (mainly spinal arthrodesis) was undertaken. For the majority (67%) of patients, postoperative gait analysis confirmed their perception of pain and function. In a minority (33%) of patients, there was an improvement in gait parameters, despite the perception of continuing severe pain and poor physical functioning. It may be possible to reduce the number of patients experiencing symptomatic failure with surgery if this discrepancy between gait and disability due to pain can be discovered preoperatively. Then the advice against surgery could be given when indicated.

*From the Orthotic Research and Locomotor Assessment Unit, and the Centre for Spinal Studies, The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, Oswestry Shropshire, United Kingdom. Accepted for publication April 1, 1993.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.