Whether you’re walking or running, the mechanics of your locomotion depend on your gait. You may think this simply means putting one foot in front of the other. But your gait is a little more complex than that and requires the proper functioning of many body parts.
Gait problems may affect balance and increase your risk of injury. It may also be responsible for your ankle, knee, or back pain.
Christopher D. Clark, MD, and our team at Premier Spine and Sports Medicine understand how gait may affect your health and offer gait analysis in our Hagerstown, Maryland office. Though gait analysis is an essential tool for our running rehabilitation program, runners aren’t the only ones who benefit from the diagnostic test.
Gait analysis explained
Unless you’re an avid runner, you may not be all that familiar with gait analysis. It’s a diagnostic imaging tool that assesses your gait and posture while you walk or run.
During a gait analysis, our physical therapist observes you walking or running in your usual workout shoes on a treadmill. Our cameras and sensors record your walk or run, which is then evaluated by one of our trained physical therapists.
When viewing the diagnostic data gathered during your gait analysis, our physical therapist assesses your gait and posture during the activity.
More specifically, the gait analysis measures the degree of your foot pronation, which is the natural roll of your foot when the outer part of your heel hits the ground. The roll of your foot helps absorb some of the shock placed on your foot and body when walking or running.
If your foot rolls inward too much (overpronation) or not enough (underpronation), it may increase your risk of injury or affect the distribution of the shock from the activity, causing pain in other parts of your body.
Are you a good candidate for gait analysis?
Maybe. Dr. Clark and our rehabilitation team determine who benefits from a gait analysis during a consultation. If you’re a runner and prone to leg, ankle, or back pain, we may suggest a gait analysis so we can help improve your foot and body mechanics to stop the pain.
But we may also suggest a gait analysis if you’re suffering from:
- Knee pain
- Back pain
- Hip pain
- Chronic pain
A gait analysis may help us confirm or rule out overpronation or underpronation as a cause or contributing factor of your pain condition.
We also specialize in sports medicine and may suggest a gait analysis if you’re an athlete who wants to improve your game.
The benefits of gait analysis
A gait analysis provides valuable information about your foot and body mechanics when you walk or run. We primarily use the data collected from the diagnostic tool to make recommendations for footwear that improves foot pronation.
However, your gait analysis also provides information about posture and balance, which we may use when developing your personalized orthopedic physical therapy program.
Your program may include exercises that target key muscle groups to improve overall strength and balance to help reduce pain, improve balance, prevent injury, and optimize health and wellness.
If you think you’re a good candidate for gait analysis, we’d be happy to help. Contact us by phone or book an appointment online today.