Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Woodruff School Graduate Women (WSGW) Tech Talks


The Dynamics of Crouch Gait in Cerebral Palsy


Ms. Katherine Steele


Stanford University


Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 11:00:00 AM


MRDC Building, Room 4211


Anrienne Little


Crouch gait is a common gait pathology among individuals with cerebral palsy which is characterized by excessive hip and knee flexion. If left untreated, crouch gait can lead to joint pain, the formation of bone deformities, and an inability to walk independently. While the complexity of the musculoskeletal system hinders the design of effective treatments for crouch gait, musculoskeletal modeling and simulation provide powerful tools to investigate the complex causes and effects of crouch gait. In this talk, I will discuss how we have used musculoskeletal simulation to critically evaluate the dynamics of crouch gait using OpenSim, a freely-available software. I will elaborate on how individual muscles contribute to motion, how joint loads change during crouch gait, and how altered physiology, such as muscle weakness, can contribute to crouch gait. Quantifying these mechanisms in crouch gait can expand our understanding of the causes of crouch gait and create new treatment strategies. The tools and methods presented in this talk can be extended into many other research areas including rehabilitation, athletics, and orthopaedics.


Kat M. Steele’s research interests involve integrating musculoskeletal modeling, motion analysis, medical imaging, and engineering methods to improve treatment for individuals with movement disorders. She will complete her PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University in Spring 2012. She received a BS degree in Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. Kat Steele also works at the Motion Analysis Laboratory at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital and teaches a new Bioengineering course about skeletal muscle at Stanford. In the past, she has worked in multiple clinical environments including the Children’s Hospital at Denver (2007) and the Cleveland Clinic (2006).