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June 1982

Gowers' Sign in Diskitis

Author Affiliations

New England Medical Center Boston

Am J Dis Child. 1982;136(6):555-556. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1982.03970420079020

One of the characteristic signs of weakness of the pelvic girdle is the manner in which the patient arises from a prone position on the floor. The child assumes the hands-and-knees position and then climbs to a stand by "walking" his hands progressively up his shins, knees, and thighs. This maneuver, known as Gowers' sign, has been associated almost exclusively with Duchenne's muscular dystrophy. We describe a patient with diskitis at the L4-5 intervertebral space who had Gowers' sign as an outstanding physical finding.

Report of a Case.—A 22-month-old male infant was referred after a one-month history of progressive irritability, pain with hip flexion during diaper changes, and, finally, almost complete refusal to stand or walk. In addition, his parents reported that "he climbs up his legs when he gets up." The family history was significant in that two maternal cousins, both male, had died of an unknown type