Gait parameters impairedin women with fibromyalgia

January 6, 2010
RheumatologyNetwork Staff

The Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine, The Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine Vol 27 No 1, Volume 27, Issue 1

The gait parameters of women affected by fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) are severely impaired compared with those of healthy women, according to researchers in the department of physical education and sports at the University of Granada in Spain. Different factors (eg, lack of physical activity, bradykinesia, overweight, fatigue, and pain) together with a lower isometric force in the legs may be responsible for the alterations in gait and poorer quality of life in women with FMS.

The gait parameters of women affected by fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) are severely impaired compared with those of healthy women, according to researchers in the department of physical education and sports at the University of Granada in Spain. Different factors (eg, lack of physical activity, bradykinesia, overweight, fatigue, and pain) together with a lower isometric force in the legs may be responsible for the alterations in gait and poorer quality of life in women with FMS.

Heredia Jimnez and colleagues1 studied 55 women with FMS and 44 controls to determine whether there are differences in such parameters among patients with FMS and healthy subjects and whether the degree of FMS affectation can decrease the gait parameters. Gait analysis was performed using an instrumented walkway for measurement of the kinematic parameters of gait, and patients completed a Spanish version of the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ).

Significant differences between the FMS and control groups were found in velocity, stride length, cadence, single-support ratio, double-support ratio, stance-phase ratio, and swing-phase ratio. There were significant inverse correlations between FIQ and velocity, stride length, swing phase, and single support; significant direct correlations were found with stance phase and double support.

In another Spanish study of women with FMS, Alentorn-Geli and coworkers2 at the Laboratory of Biomechanics, INEF-Exercise and Sport Sciences School, University of Barcelona, investigated the effectiveness of a 6-week traditional exercise program with supplementary whole-body vibration (WBV) in improving health status, physical functioning, and the main symptoms of FMS in these patients. Participants were randomized into exercise and vibration, exercise, and control treatment groups. Exercise therapy, consisting of aerobic activities, stretching, and relaxation techniques, was performed twice a week. The FIQ was administered at baseline and 6 weeks after the initiation of treatments. Estimates of pain, fatigue, stiffness, and depression also were reported. The investigators concluded that an exercise program with WBV safely reduces pain and fatigue-but not stiffness or depression-compared with exercise alone.

1. Heredia Jimnez JM, Aparicio Garca-Molina VA, Porres Foulquie JM, et al. Spatial-temporal parameters of gait in women with fibromyalgia. Clin Rheumatol. 2009;28:595-598; [Epub 2009 Jan 24].
2. Alentorn-Geli E, Padilla J, Moras G, et al. Six weeks of whole-body vibration exercise improves pain and fatigue in women with fibromyalgia. J Altern Complement Med. 2008;14:975-981.

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