I’ve never heard of printer’s gait, but of course operating a hand press would no doubt involve a lot of repetitive muscular activity. A member of SHARP enquired about it (with no great response) citing Rollo Silver’s The American Printer 1787-1825 which apparently states on page 10 “The cumbersome presses demanded so much brawn to pull that the right shoulder and foot of men who constantly worked at press became enlarged, causing them to walk in a sidewise manner”. The man working the press in the illustration appears to have both arms involved, as well as his foot, though he obviously predates 1787. 4aaf37c47b39066e9c9bdcb51a893ebaWhy foot any way? If you had to keep pushing a lever with your foot, wouldn’t that tend to enlarge the muscles of your thigh, not just your foot? And why would an over-developed right shoulder plus an enlarged foot cause you to walk “sidewise”? One could imagine many muscular functions which would lead to unequal development of the worker’s body, not just printing. What about weaving, coal mining, blacksmithing etc., etc.? Nowadays we are worried about carpal tunnel syndrome. Would that have been called editor’s wrist in a simpler age? Maybe it would have been lumped in with writer’s cramp, also called scrivener’s palsy.

See also Printer’s paralysis.