Gait analysis is the study of human motion through observation and measurement of body mechanics and movement.
Gait analysis is carried out to diagnose and treat individuals that have conditions affecting their overall body movement. The study of gait allows the diagnosis and intervention of underlying pathologies. Conditions such as cerebral palsy and stroke can be commonly observed in gait labs. Gait analysis enables doctors to study not only the cause of the symptoms of a condition but the treatments that are possible as well.
Gait analysis is also used in several sports; for instance to improve running techniques and the posture of athletes.
What is the process like?
A standard gait analysis lab consists of several video and infrared cameras that are placed to cover every angle on a treadmill or walkway. The cameras are linked to a computer system that analyzes the data produced by the camera.
The patient that undergoes the analysis has a number of markers placed at various reference points on their body. As the patient walks or runs on the treadmill, the computer simultaneously calculates the trajectory, speed, and angle of each marker in 3D.
This 3D model is then applied to the human body to give information about the movement of each joint, thereby allowing diagnosis of any irregularities. It is recommended that individuals do not wear clothes that restrict body movements in any way to ensure clean results – loose comfortable clothing is best.
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