If you’re an average, healthy adult, walking is so basic to your daily life you probably don’t even think about how you’re doing it. It’s an activity you mastered during your toddler years and never gave another thought to. The same goes with running — it’s ingrained.
But the truth is, your body may not be performing either activity optimally. Just because you’re getting from point A to point B doesn’t mean you’re doing so properly or efficiently. A number of range-of-motion issues, including joint stiffness and muscle weakness or tightness, can impact your gait (pattern of movement), thus increasing your risk of injury and decreasing your athletic performance.
Such problems — or potential problems — can be identified through a process known as gait assessment. During this exam, a physical therapist such as Michelle Sine at Tidelands Health Rehabilitation Services at Myrtle Beach, can look for biomechanical abnormalities that can affect a person’s gait.
“Put simply, a gait assessment is an analysis of how a person moves over ground,” says Sine, who specializes in helping runners and fitness walkers improve performance. “We look at how the parts of the patient’s body are moving in relationship to one another. This can help us figure out if there’s an issue that might be contributing to a recurring injury or increasing the likelihood of a new injury.”