Chiropractic care is built on the principle that the body can heal itself when the skeletal system is correctly aligned and the nervous system is functioning correctly. Gait analysis, which evaluates how a person walks and moves, is optimized by chiropractic care, helping prosthetic users achieve excellent health and well-being.
Gait problems can indicate pain as well as severe conditions, like arthritis. It can also identify existing prosthetic issues that may affect how lower-limb amputees walk and move in their prosthetic limbs. If left untreated for too long, gait problems can lead to severe problems later for many amputees.
Gait Analysis: What to expect
When visiting your chiropractor for a gait analysis, expect to go through a set of tests that provide a comprehensive assessment of an individual’s gait. These tests involve observation and instruments that measure body mechanics, movement, and muscle activity.
The results provide insight so your chiropractor can devise an appropriate treatment plan. Gait analysis is often used in sports to help athletes optimize movement and identify problems with posture or flexibility, particularly among those who have been injured.
When undergoing tests, you may need to walk in a specific pattern or on a treadmill connected to a computer while the chiropractor observes how you move. Cameras are also often placed at multiple points to capture different views.
Markers may be placed at specific points on your body, like the ankle, knee, and pelvis. As you move, the computer captures data on how you move through each marker. Then the computer applies a model to assess the movement of your skeletal structure. This results in a detailed analysis of each joint’s movement.
Factors that affect gait
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to analyzing gait. Certain factors can affect an individual’s gait, so this information—including age, gender, weight, and height—must be included for an accurate gait analysis. This is because men and women move differently, and a person’s structure changes with age.
Your step and stride length, hip and foot angle, walking speed, and cadence will also be measured and factored into the evaluation.
Other factors that need to be considered include body proportion, state of mind, stress level, musculoskeletal anomalies, and neurological diseases.
Gait analysis benefits
Getting your gait evaluated can provide invaluable insight into how your body moves and how it is aligned. It is an excellent diagnostic tool for identifying health issues related to the gait as well as the spine and feet. Gait analysis can also detect health issues even before symptoms show up.
If your chiropractor requested a gait analysis and you have concerns, it’s best to ask them any questions before going through the evaluation. Stress may affect your results as it puts tension on the muscles.