Whether your goal is to treat painful knee osteoarthritis or to gain an edge in the hundred-yard dash in the next Olympic Games, a thorough gait analysis can provide valuable insight into how and why your body functions and moves the way it does. AposTherapy® trained clinicians use a gait analysis to help map out patients’ walking movements in order to customize the knee treatment for optimal function and pain relief.
A computerized mat is used to record data about the way the patient steps to help clinicians analyze the movement patterns themselves. Understanding how the patient’s legs, pelvis and lower back joints function together helps us calibrate the AposTherapy® footworn device accordingly.
But besides helping us optimally calibrate the AposTherapy® footworn device, gait analysis data can also be enlightening for the patients themselves.
What you can learn from gait analysis results
A thorough gait analysis will look at all aspects of the way you walk including kinesthetic awareness, mobility, stability, and muscular control. The gait analysis can reveal weaknesses and predispositions that, if fixed, can help you improve the way you move and, in turn, relieve pain.
And, while improving your gait might not make you a world-champion runner like Mo Farah, it can provide helpful insight about what to fix. And having an expert interpret and explain the results of a gait analysis can yield valuable insights.
Gait analysis can reveal unhealthy compensations
When your body has something impeding its ability to operate, whether real or perceived, it finds ways to compensate. Sometimes that can be good but often it’s not. Compensations when walking and running can occur due to past injuries as well as pathologies and uncorrected movement patterns.
A person who is constantly compensating while running or walking may be taking pressure away from some structures (tendons, muscles, joints, etc.) only to pass the burden on to other structures and muscles. If this is done over prolonged periods of time, the newly loaded structures may overwork themselves. The disequilibrium can lead to imbalance which results in inefficiency and can also increase the likelihood of injury.
The good news is that fixing those compensations can also produce the opposite effects – increasing efficiency and preventing injuries. A professionally calibrated AposTherapy® device helps the wearer not need to compensate in their movements.
Gait analysis may reveal neglected injuries
When you look back and try to remember the injuries you’ve had and forgotten, you may realize that there are things you meant to take care of, once upon a time, but never did. You may remember a past injury that is still there in the background that you’ve sort of gotten used to. Minor aches and pains that keep coming back are signs that there may be an injury that has been neglected. These neglected injuries can seem minor but, over time, can intensify and cause problems.
You might have a minor limp or your muscles might be ‘bracing’ and causing undue pressure inside your joints without you even realizing. A gait analysis can reveal problems in our movement patterns that are difficult to perceive with the human eye. And catching the problems early can help you find ways to improve your movement patterns in the short term and prevent problems in the long term.
AposTherapy® treatment also helps correct the walking patterns that may be being influenced by old, neglected injuries.
How gait analysis is used in AposTherapy®
AposTherapy® trained clinicians use in-depth computerized gait analysis in combination with the results of background questionnaires and expert-level observation skills to calibrate the AposTherapy footworn device for optimum gait improvement and pain relief.
Why gait analysis is the key to treating knee pain
As opposed to shoes, or orthotics, the AposTherapy® footworn device actually changes the point of contact where the foot touches the ground. Using undersole pods that redirect that point of contact, the AposTherapy® footworn device unloads the weight away from painful and injured areas of the joints in the legs, pelvis and spine. This can in many cases immediately relieve significant amounts of pain. The computerized gait analysis helps our AposTherapy® trained clinicians to understand where best to place the undersole pods and which intra-pod inserts to use.
Bottom line - how gait analysis can help relieve pain
Using a professional gait analysis can provide a lot of valuable information about walking patterns and may even reveal unhealthy compensations and neglected injuries. It can be very useful in knowing where the best point of contact is for your foot to touch the ground, which is why we use it for calibrating the AposTherapy® footworn device.
And that is how a gait analysis can help relieve knee pain.