Unless you’re a serious runner, most people don’t think about the way they physically move from place to place. Walking might seem like one of the most basic human movements, but the way we do it can drastically impact our life, and our health.
If your gait is abnormal, it puts stress and pressure on areas of our lower body that were not designed to absorb it. Over time, this will lead to painful injuries to our muscles, nerves, and skeletal system.
Foot pain might be the first indication of a much larger issue. However, these issues can be corrected. But first, your doctor or podiatrist needs a full understanding of your gait, and how it’s affecting your physical health.
The best way to do that is through a gait analysis.
What is a Gait Analysis?
Gait analysis is a visual and technological examination of the way a person walks. It’s done in a medical facility and may use tools like force platforms and pressure plate systems. The facility may also use motion capture technology to gather as much kinetic data as possible.
What Happens in a Gait and Posture Analysis?
You’ll be asked to walk and even run normally. Then, the medical practitioner will use a variety of technologies, devices, and their keen eye to diagnose problems in the feet, ankles, legs, hips, back, and neck. Practitioners may also be able to analyze your posture through a visual examination.
During your gait and posture analysis, the supervising medical professional will process information using several different measurements. Not all tests are the same, but your gait analysis may encompass some of the following measurements.
Foot Step Analysis
To identify your exact walking pattern, the practitioner will use a series of pressure-sensitive areas embedded in a mat on the floor to analyze the precise placement of every step. Running this data through a computer gives information on walking speed, step time, and the length of each stride.
Force and Pressure Measurements
Pressure-sensitive plates on the floor also offer information on how much force and pressure is exerted by each foot. This is then sent to a computer to create a 3D picture of the person’s gait.
3-D Motion Analysis
Tracking the movement of your lower body is key to understanding the movement of your feet. 3-D motion analysis uses special markers on your pelvis and legs that are designed to reflect light.
During the gait analysis, a computer evaluates the movement of the markers, which illustrates how your body is moving through space.
Muscle Function Measurements
To see how well your muscles are working, electrodes are strategically placed to catch the muscle’s signals through electromyography (EMG). This helps identify any ongoing issues with muscles and nerves that may be contributing to your foot pain.
Slow Motion Video
Slow-motion cameras placed around the room help capture per-minute movement, so it can be played back to diagnose and highlight problem areas.
What Happens After Your Gait Analysis?
After your gait analysis, your doctor will use objective data like step time, stride length, force, and weight distribution to explain why your body is experiencing pain and what options you have to make walking and running easier and less painful. They’ll help you determine the best treatment plan, which may include physical therapy or custom orthotics to help offer support and stability.
Find Custom Orthotics at Orthotics Direct
If your doctor recommends custom orthotics, but you find that buying them in person or through your chiropractor is too expensive, check out Orthotics Direct.
We offer custom-moulded orthotics that can be used to correct a variety of gait and pronation issues, which are made by our experienced specialists, and delivered right to your door.
Whether you need custom orthotics for athletic activities and running, or just want a pair to put in your everyday shoes to help correct your gait and limit foot pain, there are many brands, options and styles available to choose from.