Gait study and analysis
Gait abnormality is a deviation from normal walking (gait). Watching a patient walk is an important part of the neurological examination by a musculoskeletal physician. Normal gait requires that many systems, including strength, sensation and coordination, function in an integrated fashion. Many common problems in the musculoskeletal system and nervous system will show up in the way a person walks.
Gait analysis is the systematic study of human walking by observation and analysis, augmented by instrumentation for measuring body movements, body mechanics and the activity of the muscles. A musculoskeletal physician can use the gait analysis result to pin-point and treat the underlying conditions affecting the patient’s ability to walk. Gait analysis is also commonly used in sports to help athletes running more efficiently and in rehabilitation to identify posture-related or movement-related problems in people with injuries.
Foot orthosis is a shoe insert prescribed by a musculoskeletal physician to alter or modify foot function so as to treat, adjust, and support various biomechanical foot disorders. These biomechanical foot disorders can be problems directly from the foot such as fallen arches, bunions and ankle osteoarthritis. They can also be secondary to pathologies in other parts of the body such as leg length discrepancies, hip contractures; or to complications of systemic disease like diabetes.
Biomechanical problems in the foot can transfer their faulty mechanics to other parts of the body, leading to pain and discomfort in the knees, hip or even back and neck. Children who have developed in-toe or out-toe gait problems, teenagers with repeated sports injuries, adults experiencing overuse injuries, or seniors who have morning foot discomfort when first standing are typical examples of conditions which respond well to orthotic therapy.