In podiatry biomechanics and gait analysis examine structure, alignment and movement of feet and lower limbs.
“Gait Analysis” is a clinical term meaning the formal measurement of a walking pattern. Gait Analysis may be performed by Podiatrists who would look at you walking or running in order to assess your joints and muscles during the gait cycle.
During an average day, we take about 8000 steps and, depending upon our weight, this adds up to a cumulative weight of about 600 tons through our feet. Gait analysis is commonly used to help athletes run more efficiently and to identify posture-related or movement related problems in people with injuries and muscle fatigue. Any misalignment in the structure of the feet may result in pain and can cause foot, knee, hip and lower back pain.
The foot is our body’s interface with the ground we walk on. When we walk or run the way our feet interact with the ground causes associated movement in the lower limb, lumbar, spine and pelvis. This is a normal occurrence, but sometimes subtle variations in the shape and mobility of our feet lead to changes in the interaction with the ground often placing excessive stress and strain on not only the foot but also other parts of the body.
Podiatrists understand that they need to consider the whole body when analysing lower limb problems. Treatment can take the form of exercises, insoles or orthoses.
- Excessive Pronation
- Paediatric Foot Problems
- Flat Feet
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Heel Pain
- Foot Stress Fractures
- Hallux Limitus
- Morton’s Neuroma
- Tendon Problems
- Arthritic Foot Problems
- Lower Back/Pelvis/Hip/Knee/Leg problems
What to expect when having Gait Analysis
When attending for gait analysis you will need to wear comfortable clothing. You may be examined walking in bare feet and with footwear, and your posture, hip position and lower limb and foot action will be recorded.
You will be measured to test for any leg length differences. The results may show underlying problems which are causing symptoms.
Any symptoms may then be addressed and you may need prescriptive orthoses. These may be ‘ready made’ or bespoke devices.
If bespoke orthoses are required, impressions of the feet are taken, and a corrective prescription is built into the mould. This aims to improve the mechanics of walking by correcting the alignment of joints. Other types of insoles or ready-made orthoses may be prescribed.
It may be necessary to be referred on to a different health professional such as a physiotherapist or doctor.