Gait & Motion Analysis
Our evaluation process includes:
- Welcome and Physical Exam
- Observe and Videotape Movement
- Monitor Muscle Activity
- 3D Motion Capture of Walking and/or Upper Extremity
- Evaluation Analysis, Review and Recommendation
1. Welcome and Physical Exam
We look forward to welcoming you to our lab. Upon arrival we will have a few forms and some paperwork for you to complete before we get started.
Our physical therapist will begin with a physical exam collecting information such as:
- Height, weight
- Body measurements
- Strength and range of motion at the joints, including hips, knees & ankles
- Muscle selectivity and spasticity
- Foot position while standing still
- Medical history including use of orthotics, surgeries and procedures such as muscle injections.
2. Observe and Videotape Movement
During this step of the analysis, our therapist will begin to ask you to perform certain movements and walk, observing and gathering data that will help determine a care plan.
Various movements are videotaped to be reviewed, and is one way of looking at how a person walks and moves. It allows us to observe you in normal speed, slow motion or one frame at a time. This approach is very limited and only a small part of the complete motion or gait analysis provided at our lab.
Our therapist will first ask you to walk on a walkway several times in the most natural, relaxed form of walking – barefoot and if possible, without orthotics or assistive devices. Once this has been videotaped, we will begin to add back in any devices you typically rely upon and videotape this as well. These movements are recorded by several different cameras from several different angles.
3. Monitor Muscle Activity
After observing and videotaping walking and/or performing upper extremity activities, we will measure how your muscles are functioning during walking. In this part of the evaluation we use dynamic electromyography. We are seeking to understand the timing of muscle use during walking and to understand whether certain muscles are “on” or “off”.
We will attach surface electrodes (similar to what is used for an EKG) to the skin similar to the markers for motion capture – usually on the thigh muscles, hamstrings, the shin and calf muscle, unless your physician requests other specific muscle activity to be measured.
We will then guide you through walking and other activities while specific muscles are monitored and recorded.
4. 3D Motion Capture of Walking and/or Upper Extremities
The 3-dimensional motion analysis evaluation includes several components to measure motion (kinematics), forces (kinetics) and walking characteristics. The results provide an objective and quantifiable understanding of movement allowing our clinical team to accurately describe, analyze and formulate recommendations.
In this part of the evaluation we create a 3-dimensional picture of how you move and walk. Small reflective markers, the size of a small marble, are used to help the cameras and computer software develop 3D joint motion data. These markers are placed on you skin with a double sided type tape. Markers are placed on specific anatomical landmarks of the pelvis and both lower extremities, and in some cases, the trunk and upper extremities.
Special cameras are located throughout the room and track the markers on you as you walk, capturing the data needed to create a 3-dimensional picture. This is done as naturally as possible, barefoot and if possible without assistive devices. Your data is compared to normative movement patterns to identify abnormal or unusual motion and any variation from norm.
In addition to the markers, we will also measure the forces you generate when walking. Specifically, we will be measuring the foot/floor contact forces during each walking trial by specialized force platforms, similar to your bathroom scale that measures your weight.
Walking Characteristics (spatial and temporal parameters)
Measurement of average walking velocity, cadence, stride length, gait cycle time, double limb support time and single limb support time are collectively referred to as Stride Characteristics.
5. Evaluation Analysis, Review and Recommendation
All of the data from your tests are analyzed and reviewed with recommendations provided in a written report, which is stored in a database for future reference and post-treatment assessment comparisons as may be needed.