Gait Analysis

The majority of us don't think about the way we walk until something starts hurting, in which case walking becomes a big deal. Walking is not a simple act, but when it works it rocks!

Biomechanics of gait

The majority of us take walking for granted until something starts hurting or we can’t walk at all. Many theories about the “right” gait have been proposed over the years, but if we quite simply break it down into functional biomechanics, it is not that complicated. The main components in walking are gravity, ground reaction force and mass momentum. If we “mess” with any of these, there is a good chance our walk might eventually be a source of pain. If the foot doesn’t hit the ground in a certain sequence, some other muscles higher up as in the calf, hip or lower back have to step in to try to buffer the impact. However, in the long run those compensations might show up as knee, hip, low back or even shoulder pain.

Treatment while you move

In our work together we start by looking at how your foot hits the ground as you take a step. We then look at how each link in the chain of movement (i.e. calf, knee, thigh, hip, spine), is working in relation to each other. If I see something a tad off from what is functionally optimal biomechanics, I work on it right there and then while you are moving in the field of gravity. This stimulates the proprioceptors (nerve-endings that are sensitive to touch, tension, pressure and vibration) in the foot and leg, which in turn sends new information to the brain.

Neuromuscular changes

The habitual neuromuscular patterns for gait is slightly disturbed by the new input, and this forces the brain to reorganize the outgoing messages. We now have the beginning to new neuromuscular patterns. However, the brain is a bit hesitant to give up what is familiar, so in order to create lasting changes, it needs repetition. Thus in each session we practice the new biomechanics, and in addition I give you homework in order to reinforce the new patterns. Little by little the newly formed neuromuscular pathways to the foot and leg start to take over while the painful ones are silenced. Before you know it, you might be walking in a slightly different way and without pain. The goal is not to ask you for drastic changes, but to tweak the things that are not working for you so that you can enjoy a pain free walk.

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