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Trendelenburg gait

Abstract

The Trendelenburg gait pattern (or gluteus medius lurch) is an abnormal gait (as with walking) caused by weakness of the abductor muscles of the lower limb, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. People with a lesion of superior gluteal nerve have weakness of abducting the thigh at the hip.

This type of gait may also be seen in L5 radiculopathy and after poliomyelitis, but is then usually seen in combination with foot drop.

During the stance phase, the weakened abductor muscles allow the pelvis to tilt down on the opposite side. To compensate, the trunk lurches to the weakened side to attempt to maintain a level pelvis throughout the gait cycle. The pelvis sags on the opposite side of the lesioned superior gluteal nerve.

This gait is precipitated by strain to the gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus. Sufferers frequently complain that an overly strenuous session at the gym, particularly with glute-isolating equipment, result in this awkward gait, or worse.

This gait may be caused by cleidocranial dysostosis.

Biofeedback and physical therapy have been used in treatment.

When the hip abductor muscles (gluteus medius and minimus) are weak, the stabilizing effect of these muscles during gait is lost.

When standing on the right leg, if the left hip drops, it's a positive right Trendelenburg sign (the contralateral side drops because the ipsilateral hip abductors do not stabilize the pelvis to prevent the droop).

"When the patient walks, if he swings his body to the right to compensate for left hip drop, he will present with a compensated Trendelenburg gait; the patient exhibits an excessive lateral lean in which the thorax is thrust laterally to keep the center of gravity over the stance leg."