Don't let them fool you. Thoughts on gait analysis programs, force plates etc.

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Accuracy of gait analysis programs and software.
This is not meant, by any means, to be an exhaustive or comprehensive review of gait analysis programs or software. To be truthful, we here at TGG have abandoned all of the software programs well over a decade ago, programs that we initially used to help us slow the gait down, measure joint angles and other seemingly valuable parameters. As time ticked on, we realized that we had trained our eyes to see most of what the software was telling us, and we also began to value the third visual dimension that these types of programs were thin on. Then came ipads and iphones and the ability with a mere finger to slow down someones gait, reverse it and play forward again. This was all we needed, and this next statement is key, for what we do for our clients.

We were pleased to see the repeatability and consistency in the data and results as outlined in these 2 selected studies. If someones gait problem is repeating, and the software is consistent, the data should be repeatable. But, here it comes, what you see in someones gait is not their problem, it is their habitual pattern of possible dysfunction. There, we said it again, for the 1000th time. Software has limited value in fixing someones problems, it merely presents data points to quantify the gait they present with. And if the client has pain, the software consistently shows the gait pattern that presents with their problem. Changing their gait does not mean you have remedied their problem, you may have, but you are more likely to have asked them to generate a new compensation around a problematic gait. A compensation around a compensation if you will.

Force plates, pedographs, and the like also fall into this data capture category. These are all tools, tools for gathering information that must be folded into hands-on clinical examination information. One needs all of the pieces if they are to play this game right, using just some of them and negating others is abusing the value of each piece data. And, the result of implementing corrective change without all the pieces is gambling that you have enough data to do it right. So, when did this become a game of gambling ?

Gait Posture. 2016 Jul;48:194-201. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2016.05.014. Epub 2016 May 25. Accuracy and repeatability of two methods of gait analysis - GaitRite™ und Mobility Lab™ - in subjects with cerebellar ataxia.
Schmitz-Hübsch T1, Brandt AU2, Pfueller C3, Zange L3, Seidel A3, Kühn AA4, Paul F4, Minnerop M5, Doss S3.

Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014: 348659.
Published online 2014 Feb 20. doi: 10.1155/2014/348659
PMCID: PMC3950554. Accuracy and Repeatability of the Gait Analysis by the WalkinSense System.
Marcelo P. de Castro, 1 , 2 , 3 ,* Marco Meucci, 4 Denise P. Soares, 1 , 3 Pedro Fonseca, 3 Márcio Borgonovo-Santos, 1 ,3 Filipa Sousa, 1 , 3 Leandro Machado, 1 , 3 and João Paulo Vilas-Boas 1 , 3