The way a person walks is known as gait. A problem with gait can indicate pain in a patient as well as serious conditions like diabetes and arthritis. An individual’s gait can be very telling revealing problems in the:
It is a diagnostic tool for a variety of conditions, injuries, and syndromes including autism. When it comes to chiropractic, an individual’s gait can offer important information regarding the root of the complaints, allowing for a more well-rounded, whole-body approach. If you think that the way you walk or moves does not matter, think again, as it could save you from developing back problems in the long run.
Gait analysis consists of a set of tests designed to provide a comprehensive evaluation of an individual’s gait. It is a study of human movement/motion that involves observing the individual and using specialized instruments that measure body movements, muscle activity, and body mechanics.
It is an assessment tool to provide insight into creating a treatment plan for people who have conditions or injuries that affect their ability to walk. It is utilized in sports biomechanics to help athletes gain optimal movement and for identifying problems with movement or posture, especially those with injuries. During the analysis, the individual may be asked to walk in a certain pattern or on a treadmill, that is usually connected to a computer, while the chiropractor/therapist looks at them from different angles.
Cameras are placed at different points to capture various views/perspectives including the front, back, and sides. The individual might have markers placed at certain points on the body like the knee, ankle, pelvis, etc. As the person moves, the computer captures data of the movement with a three-dimensional calculation of each marker. It generates a model to assess the movement of the skeletal structure, resulting in a detailed analysis of each joints movement.
Factors that Affect Gait
There are factors that affect an individual’s gait and that information is necessary for the analysis to be accurate. Age, gender, height, and weight of the individual is vital because men and women move differently and as individual age their body structure changes. Excess weight or physique can affect an individual’s posture and gait.
Shoes or not wearing shoes will also affect gait, as the terrain individuals walk on, and articles they carry, like a purse or backpack, changes how we walk. Other factors include:
- Body proportion
- State of mind
- Stress level
- Personality type
- Pathological factors such as
- Neurological diseases
- Psychiatric disorders
- Musculoskeletal issues
This is also measured and factored into the analysis data that includes the patients:
- Length of stride
- Hip angle
- Foot angle
- Step length
- Motion speed
Advantages of a Gait Analysis
Getting a gait analysis can be very helpful because it can provide invaluable insight into how your body is aligned and how it moves. It is a great diagnostic tool for identifying health issues related to the gait, spine, and feet and can also help provide early detection of health issues before the onset of symptoms.
If your chiropractor recommends you get a gait analysis it could be they suspect that something is going on, or it could mean they want a more thorough examination to provide optimal care. If you have any concerns talk with your chiropractor and ask them any questions that you have prior to the analysis, as stress and anxiety can put tension on the muscles and body, thus affecting the results.
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