We take thousands of steps each and every day, and we probably don’t pay much attention to our stride pattern or gait. Walking isn’t really something you need to focus on when you’re performing the act, but that doesn’t mean that our walking form is always perfect. In fact, most individuals have some sort of gait inefficiency with their stride.
Now, for a lot of people, these inefficiencies aren’t a big deal. But if you’re an athlete trying to take your game to the next level or you’re an older adult with an above average fall risk, an inefficient or problematic gait could make all the difference. Fortunately, we can help correct these inefficiencies with the help of a gait analysis program. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at our gait analysis and optimization program, and we explain why it could be a perfect option for you or a loved one.
Who Can Benefit From Gait Analysis?
A gait analysis is typically performed as part of an initial assessment, particularly if the focus of your sessions will be on your lower body. Your physical therapist will likely ask you to walk in a few different directions and have you perform similar movement tasks to see how your body responds to the natural action of walking. They can tell a lot about your gait pattern from this visual test, but they can also take your program up a notch by incorporating gait analysis technology.
At OrthoRehab Specialists, we have high-tech devices that can break down your stride pattern in much greater detail than a physical therapist can see with their naked eye. We can measure your stride length, how pressure is dispersed as you land and the force you use to push off for your next step. All of this information can help us figure out exactly where any inefficiencies with your gait are, and more importantly, how to tweak them so that you can have a stronger and more efficient gait.
We regularly work with a number of different people who stand to benefit from a gait analysis and optimization program, including but not limited to:
- Athletes looking to improve their athletic performance
- Individuals recovering from a lower body injury that has affected their gait
- Older adults who want to remain independent despite their higher than average fall risk
- Patients learning to walk correctly following hip, knee or ankle joint replacement
- Anyone with a visible walking issue, like a limb, a waddle or a hitch in their step
During a gait analysis assessment, you will be hooked up to one of our devices that uses motion capture technology to provide a real-time assessment of your movement patterns. Frame by frame, this data is captured and then later reviewed by your physical therapist to look for any potential issues that could benefit from correction. Not only are we looking at how each leg operates within itself, but we also measure it against the other. If one calf muscle or knee joint is significantly weaker than the other, this imbalance could affect how stress is dispersed along your entire leg, increasing your risk of mobility issues or overuse injuries. We use all of the information provided to develop an individualized gait training program based on your specific needs.
Your gait training program will be unique to your goals and deficits, but oftentimes they involve treatments like strength training, coordination development, balance training and bracing to slowly help you become a more efficient walker or runner.
So if you are hoping to become a better athlete, you want to crush your first half marathon or you simply want to remain independent in your home despite your elevated fall risk, consider syncing up with a team who can conduct a comprehensive gait analysis and make necessary adjustments to help improve your form. We walk every day, but that doesn’t mean every step is as efficient as it could be. Let us improve your form and keep you walking and running with a correct stride pattern for years to come.
For more information, or for help with a different physical issue, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today at (612) 339-2041.