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  • Writer's pictureGainesville Prosthetics

The Importance of Analyzing Gait

As a prosthetic user, you understand the importance of rehabilitation and maximizing your mobility. However, did you know that observational gait analysis is a crucial tool utilized by your prosthetist and physical therapist to tangibly measure your progress?


Gait analysis involves techniques that identify gait abnormalities, which are then targeted by your clinician to enhance your walking efficiency, reduce the risk of injury, discomfort, and tension in your joints on a daily basis. By allowing your prosthetist and physical therapist to analyze your gait, you are taking a proactive step towards maximizing the efficiency of your gait and ultimately reducing the strain on your muscles and joints, significantly boosting your potential for full rehabilitation with your prosthesis.


Optimize Your Mobility with Gait Analysis Benefits
Optimize Your Mobility with Gait Analysis Benefits


The two primary elements of gait analysis are kinematic and kinetic measurements. Kinetic measurements refer to the forces involved with walking, such as ground reaction forces, which are the forces exerted on our feet and legs by the ground while walking. On the other hand, kinematic measurements refer to movement patterns and joint angles while walking, such as stride length and duration, and the angles present at important joints like the hips, knees, and ankles.


These assessments give your clinician a clear picture of your gait and how they can shape it to make you more efficient and reduce your pain and discomfort. For example, abnormal joint angles indicate to your clinician that your joints are stiff or lack adequate range of motion, while varying step lengths or duration may be indicative of uneven walking patterns. Just like your residual limb, your gait pattern is unique and tells a story to your clinician of what is wrong, providing them with a clear blueprint to align your prosthesis accordingly. Additionally, gait analysis can help your clinician to identify undiagnosed issues such as arthritis and other musculoskeletal issues and help you adapt to them.


A key part of observational gait analysis is 2D video analysis. At Gainesville Prosthetics, our own clinician, Cara Negri, has dedicated substantial time in her career towards bringing video gait analysis to the forefront of prosthetics. Through advanced software, we and many other clinics around the country can conduct in-depth and easily reproducible video analysis that is used to significantly improve your gait and, subsequently, your ability to rehabilitate successfully and in a timely manner. The 2D software allows clinicians to accurately and retroactively gauge your stride length, duration, joint angles, and so much more; all of which are crucial elements of your gait that determine your daily comfort and efficiency.


Cara Negri consistently conducting Gait analysis to assess progress and ensure accuracy
Cara Negri consistently conducting Gait analysis to assess progress and ensure accuracy


Most importantly for prosthetists, gait analysis can create a before and after picture of how you are using your prosthesis. Taking and analyzing video of your gait on a consistent basis provides a documented timeline that your prosthetist can refer to at any time to assess your progress, and software programs even allow them to take measurements of and further analyze your gait through video. In addition to adjusting the alignment of your prosthesis, your clinician may adjust your stride length, duration, or the position of your joints to reduce strain and ensure you have a natural gait when using your prosthesis

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The significance of gait analysis cannot be overstated. It is a critical tool for both prosthetists and physical therapists to perfect the functionality and comfort of your prosthesis. By thoroughly analyzing your unique gait, your clinician can enhance your mobility, overall quality of life, and long-term success with your prosthesis. Integrating gait analysis is an essential step towards improving every prosthetic user's mobility; you can be a part of this integration and enhance your own quality of life by allowing your clinician to analyze your gait on a consistent basis.


Conclusion:

In conclusion, observational gait analysis is an essential tool utilized by prosthetists and physical therapists to measure your progress in rehabilitation. By analyzing your gait, your clinician can identify and target abnormalities to enhance your walking efficiency and reduce the risk of injury and discomfort. With the help of kinematic and kinetic measurements, as well as 2D video analysis, your clinician can create a personalized plan to improve your gait and overall quality of life. By incorporating gait analysis into your rehabilitation, you are taking a proactive step towards maximizing your mobility and success with your prosthesis.

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