Gait Analysis (LOU)
Even with a well-planned training program and the right shoes, running injuries can still happen. But with expert care from Baptist Health Louisville, you won’t be sidelined for long. We are one of just a few sports medicine programs in Louisville with therapists who specialize in treating running injuries.
We use advanced tests, such as gait analysis, to identify the source of your pain, so you can get the most accurate diagnosis possible.
What Is Gait Analysis?
Gait analysis examines the natural pattern of your foot movements (gait) while running. We use this information to make small changes to your running form that can help you overcome injuries and prevent additional wear and tear on your joints and muscles.
A runner’s feet come into contact with the ground (footstrike) on average 160 to 180 times per minute. This can add up to thousands of footstrikes over the course of even a short run.
Problems with your gait can cause tiny jolts and jabs that can lead to painful injuries. You may also make subtle changes to your running gait while you are recovering from an injury. These changes can slow your recovery or increase your risk of re-injury.
During gait analysis, we take a video recording of you running on a treadmill at a comfortable pace. We then play back the recording in slow motion to examine how you move from head to toe.
We look at the full range of your gait, including:
- What part of your foot hits the ground first
- How many times your feet hit the ground in 1 minute (cadence rate or turnover)
- The flow of your feet, legs, hips and arms with each stride and whether these movements appear similar on your left and right sides
- How hard you are landing with each foot strike
- The angles of your ankle, knee and hip joints as your feet hit the ground
- The length of your stride
Gait Analysis at Baptist Health: Advanced Diagnostic Testing for Running Injuries
Our team of sports medicine experts includes a physical therapist with special training in working with runners. This depth of expertise helps us detect subtle variations that other may miss – and that can cause injuries or slow your recovery.
We work with your body’s natural ability to heal itself, being careful to perform gait analysis only when your body has healed enough to handle a short run on a treadmill. Our mindful approach helps you make a full recovery so that you can enjoy your sport for many seasons to come.
Gait Analysis Benefits
- Helping you maintain a natural running gait: We may detect a number of irregularities during gait analysis. Our expertise lies in knowing which irregularities are causing discomfort and then working with you to make small changes that still feel natural while running.
- Specialized equipment: We use specialized equipment that is not widely available to ensure an accurate analysis. This equipment includes a force plate, which measures the force of your feet pushing against the ground while performing simple exercises. Learn more about evaluation for sports injuries.
- Expertise with young runners: We specialize in evaluating running problems that are unique to children and young adults. In fact, we evaluate more adolescents than any other age group. As a parent to two young athletes, our therapist draws from personal and professional experience to help your child to get the best possible care.
Running Injuries We Diagnose Using Gait Analysis
We use gait analysis to diagnose, treat and prevent a broad range of running injuries. These injuries include:
- Achilles tendon injuries
- Foot pain and problems
- IT Band Syndrome
- Knee pain
- Back Pain
- Shin splints
- Stress fractures
Gait Analysis at Baptist Health: What to Expect
Gait analysis is just one step in our comprehensive approach to evaluating running injuries. We start by gathering a detailed history including information about the pain you are feeling. We also perform simple tests to determine whether you can safely run the short distance necessary to examine your gait.
If it is safe for you to undergo gait analysis, here is what to expect:
- We take a video recording of you running on a treadmill for about 5 minutes at a comfortable pace.
- We may also ask you to perform simple exercises, such as single leg squats or balance tests, while you stand on a force plate. This information tells us whether you are using equal force in each leg.
- We analyze the video and then share our findings with you. We discuss the irregularities we are seeing and which ones are likely causing your pain. We also let you know how to access the video if you would like to see it later.
- We use your gait analysis to develop a customized treatment plan that may include physical rehabilitation and therapy and other treatments, such as soft tissue massage.
Next Steps with MyChart
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