What is the Gower sign in patients with muscular dystrophy?

Updated: Aug 17, 2020
  • Author: Twee T Do, MD; Chief Editor: Jeffrey D Thomson, MD  more...
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Answer

The Gower sign is a classic physical examination finding in MD and results from weakness in the child's proximal hip muscles. To get up from a sitting or supine position, the child must first become prone on the elbows and knees. Next, the knees and elbows are extended to raise the body. Then, the hands and feet are gradually brought together to move the body's center of gravity over the legs. At this point, the child may release one hand at a time and support it on the knee as he or she crawls up their legs to achieve an upright position.

Although the Gower sign is a classic finding in Duchenne MD, it is by no means pathognomonic; other types of MD and disorders with proximal weakness may also cause this sign.


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