Clinical Gait Analysis and Its Role in Treatment Decision-Making

Roy B. Davis, III, PhD, Sylvia Õunpuu, MSc, Peter A. DeLuca, MD, Mark J. Romness, MD


August 14, 2002

What Additional Information is Provided Through Gait Analysis that Augments Observational Analysis?

In order for gait analysis to be a useful tool in clinical decision-making, it must provide information not available in more traditional methods of evaluation. Computerized gait analysis augments visual observations by using:

  1. a quantitative description of complex movements that are not only multi-planar, but which also involve multiple lower extremity joints and the upper body;

  2. an indication of the associated muscle activity;

  3. a consideration of joint kinetic patterns; and

  4. an opportunity to learn from documented treatment outcomes.

With this additional information, the clinician can be more confident about identifying the actual gait deviations, determining their potential causes, and appreciating the treatment outcome. This entire process will ultimately lead to new treatment approaches and a reduction in the use of less effective interventions. The following examples are intended to illustrate how gait analysis can benefit the clinician in treatment decision-making.