What Is Gait Analysis And Why Is It Important?

Definition of gait is a “person’s manner of walking”, and it involves a many joints working together. Gait analysis is an assessment of how you can walk and run. Many people think gait analysis doesn’t play an essential role in evaluation and rehabilitation for many disorders including musculoskeletal problems, neurological disorders and cardiovascular issues.

When you don’t walk or run correctly it can dramatically impact on the body’s functions, for example:

  • Musculoskeletal (Muscles & Bone): Altered movements of the musculoskeletal system due to an injury, compensation from pain, structural abnormalities or underlying disorders can stress the joint and surrounding muscle structures. For example, an injured knee that affects your gait can cause foot, hip or back pain.
  • A normal walking pattern is even more important when you start to run, which increases any abnormal stress forces into your joints and muscles. Poor habits may become long-term, which can predispose you to other injuries or arthritis.
  • Neurological: Our gait requires the coordination of the sensory and motor nerves. Sometimes, abnormal gait can be due to neurological deficits.
  • Cardiovascular: Inability to walk leads to inactivity, that can lead to poor cardiovascular function

How Is It Done?

You will in the hallway back and forth a few times while the therapist observes your movement in various planes (e.g. from the front, back and side) to identify:

  • Pattern
  • Speed
  • Symmetry
  • Centre of gravity
  • Weight distribution
  • How different parts of the body move (feet, ankles, knees, hips, pelvis, spine, arms, trunk, shoulders, head)
  • Your shoes will be checked to see how they’ve been worn out (Is it even, to what extent and where is it worn out)

 

The therapist will gather a lot of information from your gait. This will allow them to identify possible dysfunctions and the root cause of your pain.

The following image show different phases of gait cycle:

Levels Of Pronation

Pronation is the natural side to side movement of the foot. There are three defined levels of pronation that runners and non-runners sit within

What Conditions Can Be Identified With Gait Analysis?

These include

  • Scoliosis
  • Old back, hip, knee or ankle injuries
  • Neuromuscular disorders (Parkinson’s, brain dysfunction, peripheral neuropathy and inner ear dysfunction)

Gait analysis can be essential assessment tool to assess the root cause of your disorder. By assessing how you walk or run can help us to provide a specific rehabilitation program addressing the root cause that will allow you to recover fully, rather than providing temporary relief!

Thank you for reading, and we hope you benefited from this article. To receive gait assessment from our Physiotherapists or Chiropractors, call Masnad Health Clinic (02 9793 8840) or BOOK ONLINE

Menu