Gait assessment is an important part of the assessment and examination process for all of my consultations, whether I am working directly within an osteopathic consultation, exercise prescription & program design consultation or movement screen. Walking is one of the key things we as humans do every day and it is very important to look at ones gait and how they move and function. A lot of important information can be gathered from watching ones gait and information about how the body deals with ground reaction force and gravity.
There are 3 big areas that I focus on when assessing ones gait, these areas being the foot & ankle, pelvis and thoracic spine. I look at how the individual moves in all 3 areas and often take a mental note of observations of asymmetry or possible dysfunction. If time permits, I will watch from all three angles, that being in front, from the side and behind the client. Information picked up from this then leads to further excursion tests. If time permits I will also ask the client to carry out a few different versions of walking to look at how the body reacts when further stress or load is placed on certain areas of the body.
Generally speaking, a lot of people say “why are you looking at my foot when I have a sore back” Often I tell them that the body works as one and often dysfunctions in one area can lead to further dysfunction elsewhere in the body, and sometimes even the development of pain. If I was only to ever look at ones back and their back pain, no doubt many injuries would continue to recur or not get better at all.
This post was meant to provide a little insight into why manual therapists, personal trainers etc etc will often want to look at how you walk and move. A lot of information can be gathered from this process and often tells us a lot about where different issues might be arising from.
Osteopath Heath Williams is owner and director of Principle Four Osteopathy, one of melbourne city cbd 3000 leading osteopathic clinics. The clinic is located at 29 somerset place, melbourne city cbd 3000 (behind camera house on the corner of little bourke and elizabeth st). Conditions treated include: back pain, neck pain, sports injuries, repetitive strain injuries, hip, knee, foot and ankle injuries, shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand injuries, frozen shoulder and headaches. To speak to an osteopath at Principle Four Osteopathy, please call 03 9670 9290.