A Practical Guide to Gait Analysis

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The act of walking involves the complex interaction of muscle forces on bones, rotations through multiple joints, and physical forces that act on the body. Walking also requires motor control and motor coordination. Many orthopaedic surgical procedures are designed to improve ambulation by optimizing joint forces, thereby alleviating or preventing pain and improving energy conservation. Gait analysis, accomplished by either simple observation or threedimensional analysis with measurement of joint angles (kinematics), joint forces (kinetics), muscular activity, foot pressure, and energetics (measurement of energy utilized during an activity), allows the physician to design procedures tailored to the individual needs of patients. Motion analysis, in particular gait analysis, provides objective preoperative and postoperative data for outcome assessment. Including gait analysis data in treatment plans has resulted in changes in surgical recommendations and in postoperative treatment. Use of these data also has contributed to the development of orthotics and new surgical techniques.

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