Damon Mar, Isador Lieberman, Ram Haddas

October 2020, Volume 29, Issue 10, pp 2591 - 2599 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-019-06252-2

First Online: 14 December 2019

The Gait Deviation Index as an indicator of gait abnormality among degenerative spinal pathologies


The Gait Deviation Index (GDI) is a composite measure of gait abnormality derived from lower-limb joint range-of-motion which is increasingly being reported for clinical gait analysis among neurologic and orthopedic patients. A GDI score of 100 is representative of healthy individuals and decreasing scores represent a greater abnormality. Preliminary data is needed to help assess the utility of GDI as a measure of compromised gait among spine patients and to provide reference values for commonly treated pathologies.


GDI scores were obtained from healthy adults and four symptomatic degeneration groups: cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM), adult degenerative scoliosis (ADS), and single-level lumbar degeneration (LD). Clinical gait analysis was done using a three-dimensional motion tracking system. Evaluations were done 1 week prior to surgical intervention for degeneration groups. Two-sample t-tests were used to compare degenerative cohorts to healthy controls and for inter-cohort comparisons. Pearson correlations were used to test for significant relationships between GDI and walking speed.


Degenerative cohorts all showed significantly lower (worse) GDI scores compared to healthy (all p 


Composite metrics like GDI provide a tempting means to summarize nuanced and complex gait characteristics into a single, comparable value among cohorts. The results of this study provide preliminary GDI scores for common degenerative spine pathologies.

Graphic abstract

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