Gowers’s or Gowers sign is a sign which indicates a weakness of the proximal muscles in the lower limb. The child that has this use their hands and arms to “walk” up their own body from a squatting position. The sign is a characteristic of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
When a person with Gower’s sign attempts to rise from a sitting or lying position, they tend to demonstrate a distinct and characteristic pattern of using their hands and arms to “climb up” their own body to achieve an upright position.
The typical sequence of movements are:
- The person first rolls onto their side.
- They place their hands on their thighs or knees and walk their hands up their legs to push their trunk upward.
- They continue to walk their hands up their body, often using their hands on their thighs, abdomen, and chest to assist in lifting their trunk.
- Eventually, they reach a standing position with their hands providing support on their knees or thighs.
The Gower’s sign is considered a compensatory maneuver used by individuals with significant weakness in their hip and thigh muscles, specifically the hip extensors and abductors. The maneuver allows them to recruit stronger upper body muscles, such as the shoulder girdle and arm muscles, to compensate for the weak lower limb muscles.