Hip flexor fatigue limits walking in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

Ramdharry, Gita M., Day, Brian L., Reilly, Mary M. and Marsden, Jonathan F. (2009) Hip flexor fatigue limits walking in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Muscle & Nerve, 40(1), pp. 103-111. ISSN (print) 0148-639X


Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease results in distal lower limb weakness that affects walking. In this study we assess the role of the hip flexors in compensating for distal weakness while walking and the effects of prolonged walking on these putative compensatory strategies. Eighteen subjects with CMT disease were compared with 14 matched controls while they walked on a treadmill to a predetermined point of perceived effort. A significant reduction was observed in peak hip flexor velocity during walking and hip flexor maximal voluntary contraction. In a second session following selective fatigue of the hip flexors, hip flexor velocity decreased immediately on walking, and walking duration was greatly reduced. This study suggests that hip flexors compensate for distal weakness and that fatigue in the hip flexors can limit walking duration. Treatments directed toward improving proximal muscle strength may therefore help to delay onset of hip flexor fatigue and thus prolong walking duration.

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