Biomechanical Gait analysis [Mechanical engineering]

Biomechanical Gait analysis

Gait Analysis

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Gait is the way in which we move our whole body from one point to another. Most often, this is done by walking, although we may also run, skip, hop etc. Gait analysis is a method used to assess the way we walk or run to highlight biomechanical abnormalities.

What are Biomechanical Abnormalities?

Being able to move efficiently is important in avoiding injuries. Having joints capable of providing sufficient movement and muscles capable of producing sufficient force is vital to generate an efficient gait cycle. If joints are stiff (usually caused by muscle tightness), limiting range of motion, or muscles are weak, the body must find ways of compensating for the problem, leading to biomechanical abnormalities.

Examples of biomechanical abnormalities include:

  • Hip hiking (or hitching) - lifting the hip on one side
  • Ankle equinus - limited ankle dorsiflexion
  • Pelvic tilt - can be either anterior, posterior or lateral

Biomechanical problems such as these are usually caused by muscular imbalances (tight muscles working against weak muscles), although they can sometimes be caused by structural problems, such as leg length discrepancies resulting in hip hiking.

Gait analysis is usually performed by a professional, such as a podiatrist or physiotherapist, although it is now becoming more widespread and readily available with many specialist running and sports shops now gaining the equipment and staff who are trained in gait analysis.

Gait analysis usually involves walking or running on a treadmill. In some cases the professional will simply watch the way that you move, looking in particular at your feet, ankles, knees and hips. In more specialist settings, a video recorder will often be set-up behind the treadmill, which will record film of your gait cycle. This can then be relayed to a laptop where slow motion and freeze frames can be used to carefully assess your running or walking style. This form of gait analysis usually focuses on the feet and ankles. Watch our video on treadmill gait analysis here.

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Can you use biomechanics principles to generate the maximum amount of force in a soccer kick

You absolutely can. That is exactly what biomechanics is and does. It can prove the best angle, force, and wind up needed.

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