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What is Motion Analysis?

Motion analysis allows our orthopedic and sports medicine specialists to help children and adolescents maximize their physical abilities and achieve greater health and well-being as they grow.

Gait analysis is a sophisticated technique used to help evaluate the complexities of a child’s walk and is a valuable tool for our specialists as they develop a treatment plan. An interdisciplinary team that includes orthopaedic physicians, physical therapists, kinesiologists, and engineers review all of the data and makes treatment recommendations such as physical therapy, medication, bracing, and surgery.

  • Clinical Exam – A clinical exam provides measures of a pediatric patient’s status at rest. Measurements may include passive joint range of motion, joint contracture, muscle strength and tone, bony deformity, and neurological assessment. This information can then be compared to the gait data to help determine the potential causes of the patient’s gait deviations.
  • Kinematics – Kinematics, the study of joint motion, is the most common technique for obtaining motion data for clinical use. Specialized cameras connected to a computer illustrate the 3D motion of reflective markers aligned with specific bony landmarks on the lower extremities, pelvis and trunk to determine joint angles and motion.
  • Electromyography – Dynamic electromyography (EMG) uses either surface or intramuscular electrodes to monitor muscle activity. EMG signals give information about muscle activity while walking. This information can be used with the kinematic and kinetic data to better understand the patient’s neuromuscular pathology.
  • Foot Pressure – A pedobarograph measures pressure distribution under the foot while a patient is walking. This force measurement is recorded by having a patient walk barefoot over a very thin plastic mat.
  • Video – Specialized cameras are used to record patients walking in real-time as they move throughout the lab. Markers—tiny balls with highly reflective surfaces—are placed on the child’s skin at specific points to help collect the necessary data to evaluate walking patterns for smoothness and fluidity. Close-up views and slow motion playback help our specialists determine a child’s gait pattern.
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