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Gait Analysis

Dr. Matt Brown
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What is gait analysis?

Physical therapists frequently perform gait analysis when patients are struggling with gait abnormalities that make walking or running inefficient or painful. A gait analysis can reveal valuable insights regarding walking speed, balance, range of motion, and reflexes. It can also help patients identify and correct the habits that are contributing to discomfort.

Thanks to advancing technology, gait analyses are more detailed, thorough, and accurate than ever before. It’s not uncommon for a gait analysis to incorporate a comprehensive physical examination, a motion and muscle assessment, video recording, muscle-monitoring electrodes, and force platforms that measure the force of the footstep on the ground.

Source: AlterG

Why do people need gait analysis?

Generally speaking, two groups of people can benefit from gait analysis: those with conditions or previous injuries that cause their walking gait to be painful or awkward, or athletes looking to take their game to the next level.

Patients with gait dysfunctions, such as waddling or a limp, can often benefit from gait analysis, as retraining walking patterns begins with understanding those patterns in detail. Gait analysis can also be used to perfect running form, which is why many athletes can benefit from it. Often, a faster mile time is just around the corner — but requires a simple form correction first.

The most common reasons for gait analysis include:

  • Gait abnormalities
  • Injuries
  • Athletic goals

Source: Move Forward PT

Physical therapy for gait analysis

Gait analysis is commonly employed at the start of a comprehensive physical therapy regimen tailored to the patient’s conditions, needs, and goals. Upon completion, an experienced physical therapist can create a routine that corrects inefficiencies and results in a more comfortable, effective stride.

In order to correct gait, your physical therapist will likely employ a number of strategies. These may include pre-gait training — or retraining each of the movements and habits that make up a step — bracing, gait training, and balance training.

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