What is a gait assessment and why do I need one?

With the recent lockdowns due to COVID-19, so many people who loved to exercise were forced into taking up running as a form of exercise. Mostly because it was one of the only forms of physical activity that was still available to us. This is a great thing, as running is one of the most accessible forms of physical activity for everyone. All you need is a pair of runners. However, it also saw a spike in lower limb injuries in particular as so many runners began to run with poor form or increased their running milage too quickly. If you are still getting these little running injuries or ‘niggles’ then a running gait assessment may be exactly what you need!
What is a Gait Assessment?

First of all, ‘gait’ is a term used to describe a person’s manner of walking. Therefore, a gait assessment simply means assessing a person’s method of walking or running. At Total Balance Healthcare, this will be done on a treadmill set to your individual walking pace. 

Why should I want to get a gait assessment?

Often the first reason an individual should want to get a gait assessment is because they are getting pain with either walking or running. Other reasons to think about getting a gait assessment may include boosting athletic performance, becoming more economically efficient and reducing risk of future injury.

What will my first gait assessment involve? 

Your first gait assessment will look something very similar to this:

  • Detailed history of your complaint and past injuries
  • Brief osteopathic musculoskeletal assessment – to look for any musculature weaknesses or tightness
  • Walking or running assessment (this is the fun part) – you will jump onto the treadmill and walk or run at you usual pace and we will film you so we can slow it down and analyse your movement
  • If needed we will make some adjustments and get you back onto the treadmill, and reanalyse how you go with the adjustments that we have made 
What should I bring to my gait assessment? 

Nothing really! Just make sure you wear some activewear or clothes that you are comfortable doing a little bit of walking or running in (don’t worry, we won’t make you sweat too much 😂). Try to wear the shoes that you usually walk or run in so we can get the best idea of how you are moving. If you like you can bring a water bottle to sip on when you have stopped running on the treadmill.

How many assessments will I need? 

The answer to this question varies slightly depending on each individual complaint and how your body is adapting to the changes that we are making. Usually a good place to start is 3-4 assessments across a couple of month period however this is certainly dependent on each individual. Sometimes we will make some small changes and you will go away for a couple of weeks to implement these changes and the pain disappears instantly. More commonly however, as running is such a repetitive task and something that you have been doing a certain way for a very long time, the changes will be slow and mundane. The important thing however is to commit to making these changes to ensure you have the best outcome possible.

Want to book in for a gait assessment at Total Balance Healthcare with Dr. James Clark (osteopath)?

Then jump online or give the clinic a call using the link and number below:

DISCLAIMER: THIS BLOG POST IS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL ONLY.  IT IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR MEDICAL ADVICE FROM A REGISTERED AND QUALIFIED DOCTOR OR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.

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