Gait analysis is of fundamental importance in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions affecting the foot and ankle. Most foot and ankle specialists initially examine the patient in the seated position to determine position, range of motion and strength, leg length, and gross deformity. Then, the patient stands to enable assessment of the alignment of the feet, ankles, knees, legs, and hips. Finally, the patient is asked to walk and/or run to enable a more functional assessment of the lower extremity, as well as to measure the effects of body weight, form, and posture.
Gait analysis can be accomplished in a quiet hallway in the office, on a treadmill, or using more advanced techniques, such as computerized gait analysis. Often, gait will be recorded with slow motion video and reviewed. Your podiatrist will determine which method of examination is best for you.
For example, equinus (limitation of upward bending or dorsiflexion of the ankle), is commonly found in about 25% of the overall population, and has been associated with over 96% of biomechanically-related, repetitive motion foot and ankle injuries, as well as lower back pain. Limited ankle dorsiflexion may cause abnormal compensation during walking and running, including excessive internal or external rotation of the leg, knee, and hip, as well as excessive pronation (flattening) of the foot. The effect of equinus in gait occurs when body weight passes over the leg during mid-stance and is best seen during gait analysis. This condition can be particularly destructive in runners as the cadence slows and stride length increases. Once identified, these are treatable with physical therapy, proper shoe selection, and orthotics.
Gait analysis is fundamental in the accurate diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle issues.
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Last updated: Dec 24, 2019 12:29 am