Gait Analysis in Orthopaedic Surgery

History, Limitations, and Future Directions

Garin G. Hecht, MD; Noelle L. Van Rysselberghe, MD; Jeffrey L. Young, MD; Michael J. Gardner, MD


J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2022;30(21):e1366-e1373. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Gait analysis has expanding indications in orthopaedic surgery, both for clinical and research applications. Early work has been particularly helpful for understanding pathologic gait deviations in neuromuscular disorders and biomechanical imbalances that contribute to injury. Notable advances in image acquisition, health-related wearable devices, and computational capabilities for big data sets have led to a rapid expansion of gait analysis tools, enabling novel research in all orthopaedic subspecialties. Given the lower cost and increased accessibility, new gait analysis tools will surely affect the next generation of objective patient outcome data. This article reviews the basic principles of gait analysis, modern tools available to the common surgeon, and future directions in this space.


Humans have been studying their own gait for thousands of years. Although the origins of the field predate computers, formal quantification of gait continues to become more refined as mathematics and computational ability evolve. In the realm of orthopaedic surgery, gait analysis has most often been used to quantify and track pathology, optimize athletic performance, and track recovery from injury. Although high cost and space requirements previously limited widespread adoption in clinical settings, newer technologies have dramatically lowered these barriers. In this paper, we review the basic principles and methods of gait analysis, benchmark measurement tools versus emerging technologies, and several high-value lessons from gait analysis in orthopaedic surgery. We predict accelerated utilization of these techniques over the next decade and propose novel applications that would offer notable benefit to patient care.