Award Date


Degree Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Committee Member

Jenny Kent

Second Committee Member

Daniel Young

Third Committee Member

Merrill Landers

Number of Pages



Purpose/Hypothesis: Down syndrome (Ds) is a genetic disorder in which the individual carries an extra copy of chromosome 21 resulting in mental and physical disabilities and risk of major health conditions. A high prevalence of gait pattern dysfunction occurs in adults with Ds due to muscle hypotonia, ligamentous laxity, joint hypermobility, and altered development of musculoskeletal structure, which often lead to increased falls and fear of falling. The purpose of this study is to investigate the differences in kinematic and spatiotemporal gait parameters between adults with Ds and age-matched controls, as well as studying the effects of a 12-week Ds-specific exercise protocol on those gait parameters. Materials/Methods: Sixty individuals between the ages of 18-35 were recruited. Individuals were organized into three participant groups: (A) individuals with Ds that received Mann Method PT Principles (MMPT) exercise intervention (B) individuals with Ds that received non-exercise usual care (C) typically developing individuals from whom only baseline measurements were taken for comparison. Observational gait analysis was captured via a 2D digital camera setup in both frontal and sagittal plane views. The lower extremity 2D kinematic analysis software Kinovea was used to measure lower extremity joint angles during each phase of gait cycle in the sagittal plane, as well as several additional angles during loading response in the frontal plane. Spatiotemporal gait parameters were captured using the Zeno Walkway Gait Mat and the ProtoKinetics Movement Analysis Software (PKMAS). Results: The preliminary results of this study have shown significant differences between individuals with Ds and their age-matched controls in the following kinematic parameters: increased knee flexion in midstance, decreased knee flexion in initial swing, and increased ankle plantarflexion in both initial contact and preswing. As data collection and analyses are ongoing, we will be able to expand on the effects of the MMPT exercise protocol for individuals with Ds as well as spatiotemporal gait mat results for control participants. Conclusions: This study confirms the need for exercise interventions to address several kinematic gait abnormalities associated with Down syndrome. As data collection is ongoing, we hope to confirm with our final results the specific kinematic and spatiotemporal gait parameters that can be improved using a Ds-specific exercise program such as MMPT. Clinical Relevance: As Down syndrome continues to be one of the most common genetic disorders that physical therapists work with, it is important that clinicians are aware of what gait parameters present differently than typically developing individuals. Additionally, knowing a set of Ds specific exercises that can positively affect these parameters is essential in decreasing the risk of falls and improving the overall quality of life for this population.


Down Syndrome; Adults with Down Syndrome; Exercise Training; Physical Therapy; Gait; Gait Kinematics; Spatiotemporal Parameters; Specific Exercise Program; Lower Extremity Kinematics; Exercise Intervention


Physical Therapy

File Format


File Size

2629 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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