Injuries and the gait cycle
At PMC Physiotherapy Dunboyne we are the first physiotherapy clinic in Ireland to use cutting edge gait cycle analysis technology to allow us measure your foot in motion and prescribe a fully bespoke orthotic to help you return to pain free movement and sport.
Our gait, or the way we walk or move, is a crucial part of a Physiotherapists assessment of many injuries or ailments. Changes or abnormalities in gait can be a contributing factor to any lower limb injury and may even affect us as far up as our neck and shoulders.
In order to assess a patient’s gait, we need to understand it. Broadly speaking there are 2 main phases of the gait cycle. 1. Foot contact phase (when the foot is in contact with the ground) and 2. Swing phase (when the foot is in the air). These can be broken down further into 8 phases:
Phases of the Gait Cycle
1. Initial Contact
2. Loading Response
4. Terminal Stance
5. Pre swing
6. Initial Swing
7. Mid Swing
8. Late Swing
Each phase is a complex interaction of the foot, ankle, knee, hip, pelvis, spine and upper limbs and all the muscles that move and control these body parts. So, there is a lot going on. Fortunately, we are generally highly adaptable and robust beings, so for most people, gait is never an issue. For some however, there can be problems, and this is where an objective analysis of your gait and its interactions may be of use.
Assessment and Injury
Gait can be altered because of injury or maybe post op, but an altered gait cycle can also lead to injury. An altered gait can lead to dysfunction in many parts of the body, but the common areas of pain are the foot, ankle, calf, knee and hip. The trick is to find which components of gait may be due to or may contribute to injury and put in place a plan to improve these, if needed.
During a gait analysis we are primarily looking at the foot, ankle, knee and hip. We track the centre of pressure of the foot as it moves through the stance phase of the gait cycle. We also measure and test joint ROM through the lower limb and test the muscular control around all the lower limb joints to see if there are any deficiencies that might contribute to an altered gait cycle.
Apart from injury prevention, improving your gait pattern may lead to improvements in running and sporting performance. Sometimes this is due to the absence of pain but can also be due to increased efficiency in gait, meaning less energy expenditure for the same output.
PMC Physiotherapy Dunboyne recommendation
Most people have perfectly normal gait or have adapted well to a slightly abnormal gait pattern and need no intervention. However, if you are finding pain to walk or run, then contact us to book a thorough assessment of your gait may be beneficial in relieving symptoms and returning to pain free motion and performance.
PMC Physiotherapy Clinic, Unit 36, Dunboyne Business Park, Dunboyne, Co Meath
01 8253 997