Gait is the technical term used to describe walking pattern. A biomechanical gait analysis is conducted by expert physiotherapists and podiatrists to identify any underlying mechanical problems which may be contributing to pain, instability or weakness in the legs or spine.
A biomechanical gait analysis may be useful with sportsmen and women as well as with less active patients.
A biomechanical gait analysis comprises of an initial observation of an individual’s walking pattern. This may be repeated wearing certain types of footwear and at different speeds or while jogging if performed with sportsmen or women.
The second part may involve objective data recording. There are several forms of recording devices and instrumentation including camera recordings which can identify adverse joint angles as well as various force plates and temporary insoles. These can give speed and pressure data for the feet. Software is then used to identify significant areas of abnormal foot pressure.
Analysis of a biomechanical gait analysis also takes in to account components of a clinical examination such as static postural alignment, muscle length tests and joint range of motion.
- Persistent low back pain
- Back pain with sciatica
- Trochanteric bursitis or gluteal tendon pain
- Patellar tendinopathy
- Knee osteoarthritis
- Knee cap disorders (patellofemoral pain syndrome)
- Sports performance issues
- Tibialis posterior dysfunction
- Plantar fasciitis
- Ankle & foot osteoarthritis
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Repetitive ankle sprains
A biomechanical gait analysis may help individuals suffering with persistent pain disorders by optimizing biomechanics as well as helping to offload joints, ligaments and tendons which have suffered with trauma to allow them to recover appropriately.
To optimize biomechanics, the treating clinician may use orthotics which are occasionally placed externally to joints but are often used as an insole. Orthotics can help to subtly correct the angle of the ankle and foot as well as joints further up at the lower spine, hips and knees.
When offloading injured tissue, orthotics may used as a form of specialist cushioning or the angle changes they may offer can reduce the stretch on certain soft tissues around the ankle and foot.
Lastly, a biomechanical gait analysis can provide physiotherapists and podiatrists with information to refine rehabilitation programs by highlighting muscle groups to strengthen and joints and muscle groups which may require better flexibility.