We think nothing of walking around the house, up the stairs or out in the garden. To do so, however, is incredibly complex. In order to walk well you need healthy muscles and joints. A nervous system that can detect sensation from your body and use that to create movement. You need balance and rhythm. Your heart and lungs to need to provide your brain and body with oxygenated blood. When you see someone walk down the road you’re actually seeing a sophisticated, highly tuned machine in action.
If there’s a change in any of the systems mentioned above, we will see a change in gait. That might be a reduced arm swing. The width between feet might become wider. The length of your stride might shorten. Perhaps you begin to shuffle your feet rather than swing them through with confidence. Interestingly, most conditions will change gait in some subtle way. You have no doubt seen someone walk into the room and known instantly they’re feeling unwell. Perhaps you’ve asked someone if they’re in pain without them saying anything. Even conditions like anxiety and depression will change the way you walk.
You might have had a gait assessment when buying new running shows. It’s a useful exercise to see how a pair or shoes affects your gait. Really though, we want to not just look at the feet but instead look at the whole movement chain. How flexible are your ankles, knees and hips? How strong are your legs and gluteal muscles? How mobile is your back? What is your balance like, both with your eyes open and closed. We can change the assessment to test your areas of weakness. We can use it find what might be causing your symptoms.
In my chiropractic clinic in Woking I assess gait during every single appointment. From your first session to your last. Gait gives me a quick insight into how you are. It guides both my assessment and my treatment plan.