A Closer Look At Case Studies In Gait Analysis

Author(s): 
David Levine, DPM, CPed

   When assessing patients, obtaining information via video and computer-assisted gait analysis may assist clinicians in more ways than they even realize. It is information that one may not otherwise obtain during a typical podiatric biomechanical examination. Watching patients ambulate can be very helpful in picking up key details that can inform the diagnosis and subsequent treatment plan.    One needs to consider other contributing factors as well. These factors include the patient’s occupation as well as the shoes he or she typically wears. For example, a woman wearing dress shoes and a man with steel toe work boots may have different complaints but both are likely related to how their shoes affect their feet. Therefore, it is important to look at the entire person both from a static and dynamic point of view.    Certainly, typical podiatric biomechanical intervention can address many problems that people encounter on a daily basis. However, there are many situations that present to us on a daily basis that need more detailed attention. Additional attention means understanding the way patients function. Simply having two feet does not mean that symmetry is something patients should take for granted. It is often asymmetry that causes the underlying presenting complaints.    For example, consider a patient who presents with plantar fasciitis one year, tendonitis another year and hallux limitus at another time. There must be other biomechanical forces that are causing these repeated injuries. Overuse may be one factor but overuse in combination with biomechanical asymmetry is even more important to assess.

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