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Gait Analysis has been one of the most important tools at the disposal of chiropodists for years. It involves a trained observation of your body’s mechanics while in motion and can provide a wealth of information about the functioning of bones and muscles, as well as the existence of gait abnormalities or other harmful conditions. And while your body’s foundation is on the feet, gait analysis can tell us about everything from bone structure, to habitual patterns in your movement, to flexibility, stability, and strength.
Moving beyond the naked eye has always been a goal of those who perform gait analysis, and there has been no shortage of different technologically-augmented methods that have been performed over the years. One of the newest and most exciting aids to traditional methods is Medilogic in-shoe gait analysis. This new technology uses high-tech pressure-sensitive insoles to measure applied pressure beneath your feet, creating a real-time snapshot of your footsteps, as you take them. Data is recorded wirelessly and compiled in a graphic colour display which provides information about stress and pressure points to see how the feet are functionning in the shoes.
What makes this so useful is that it allows chiropodists to gain an at-a-glance look of gait symmetry, which can be sped up or slowed down as desired. Freeze-framing on specific moments can hone in on specific stress points while fast-forwarding makes it easier to identify patterns. Saving walk cycles for later evaluation becomes possible and is as easy as a single click of a button. Specific points on the graphic can be selected to gain the numerical pressure data for that point.
The ways this technology can be useful to doctors and their patients are many and varied. The colour-coded graphics make it much easier to see things like gait asymmetries and major stress points, but also explain them in detail to the patient. Translating this information is crucial because it gives the patient enough insight into the problem to make a well-informed decision about therapy or corrective devices, or change personal habits that relate to the problem.
Comparing before and after images makes it easy to test the effectiveness of treatment. If a particular brace or other type of footwear is required, imaging the patient’s gait before and after the application of the orthotic will make it abundantly clear what effect it is having. It can also allow the doctor and patient to test out different options within the clinic, and gain a positive understanding of the effect of each of them. In the case of longer-term treatments, a series of motion-capture snapshots can show progress over time, offering a way of measuring and understanding the effects of such treatment.
Because of the role gait analysis has played in the lives of athletes, optimizing training and perfecting individual movements, a specially designed Medilogic insole is provided for sports. The key difference of this model is that the sensors operate at a higher sampling rate of 300 Hz, which gives a higher resolution image of foot pressure, and allows it to capture more subtle movements. Sprinting, jumping, and pivoting come into focus more clearly, allowing for a depth of understanding that is necessary for high-performance situations. This model is still completely wireless, making it ideal for almost any sport.
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