The Joint Ventures' Blog

Gait Analysis

Friday, June 28, 2019

With the weather finally warming up in New England it is time to transition working out in the outdoors. Soon we will see the esplanade fill up with bikers and runners. Spring and summer are a big transition for our patients at Joint Ventures. Trading the sturdy winter boots for flip flops and running shoes can take a toll on your unprepared feet. The increase in activity along with the lack of support can cause many seasonal feet diagnosis such as plantar fasciitis or achilles tendinitis. But this transition is something we should be able to carry on through granted our feet are prepared for it. One topic that is important to talk about is gait mechanics. Whether we are walking or running the biomechanics and foot strength can be critical for injury and pain prevention as we hit the pavement or sand in these upcoming months. The quality of movement during a walking or running cycle can give us a lot of information about these common feet diagnosis. Evaluation through slow motion analysis as will be further discussed below shows a glimpse of what were are looking for during a treatment session.

One area I would like to focus on for discussion is the push off phase during walking or running cycles. In physical therapy we call this the transition from terminal stance to initial swing phase. Slow motion videos can be critical to help evaluate points in someone’s gait cycle that are contributing to their pain prognosis. For example, the position of the foot immediately after push off into swing phase gives us lots of information of the quality of the push off itself.In physical therapy we often find tread markings that are consistent with these poor biomechanics. Someone might be pushing off excessively through their inside aspect of their foot causing increased tread wear and a whip like movement in the initial to mid swing phase. Check out these photos below to see the different angles (1) we see on runners.



Although all runners show variability in their foot mechanics, excessive amounts of this whip as highlighted in the angles seen on the runners have been linked to common running injuries. The larger the angle the greater the risk of injury and the greater the association of injury in our runners. Orthotics have been a means of help but with limited research and questionable outcomes of its effectiveness long term. Our hope is to strengthen and improve the control in which we propel our body from one foot to the other. Physical therapy has been shown to help runners control and manage their pain as they meet their fitness goals.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described in this blog post, you may want to consider scheduling an evaluation for physical therapy. If you are looking to learn more about gait analysis, please feel free to contact Katelyn Cloutier at Katelyn.Cloutier@JointVenturesPT.com or stop by the Downtown Office.

 

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4714754/#!po=0.684932
 

 

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