Gait analysis ensures optimum aid from foot orthotics
Many foot orthotics are available on the market to consumers right off the shelf without a doctor. Some drug stores have even included a foot-mapping machine to complement their products for sale. However, people suffering from more severe or specific issues will need to consider custom foot orthotics, which are selected and shaped based on thorough gait analysis.
What is gait analysis?
From walking to running, gait describes the way a patient moves on his or her feet. Individuals may have a very pronounced swinging of the hips, knees that bow outward, or even feet that roll inward. A gait analysis aims to reveal a patient’s biomechanical patterns related to foot movement, searching for any dysfunctions that may lead to pain or other conditions and issues.
Each gait analysis can include observations with the naked eye, as well as recorded footage of the patient on a treadmill. Such data can then be analyzed to identify any biomechanical factors that affect the person’s gait that cause pain, discomfort, or chronic condition.
What can you learn from a gait analysis?
Upon gait analysis, one might find that a patient has a strong tendency to roll the feet inward too much during walking and running. Although it is considered healthy and necessary for the foot to roll inward to a certain degree, when this inward rolling motion goes too far, it is a condition called overpronation. This prevents weight to be distributed evenly and places too much pressure on the big toe, leading to greater stress on the bones, muscles, and tendons of the feet and legs.
Keeping in mind that issues in one area of the body can affect a person’s health as a whole, it’s easy to see how such dysfunction in the lower legs and feet can result in improper alignment of the knees and hips. This negative domino effect can even continue further up the body, as hips that are out of alignment have an influence on the posture and function of the lower back and so on.
Catching an issue such as overpronation during gait analysis can allow the health professional to detect which patients may benefit from foot orthotics and will assist in selecting the right one for the job.