A few months ago we tried something new. We tested your gait auditory skills while listening to a video of a runner on a treadmill. We queued you to listen to the foot falls listening for the one foot to slap or impact harder than the other at foot strike. Most of you got it right, we got plenty of positive feedback on that piece. Here is that piece (link).
This is something we do during the initial evaluation for each and every patient that comes to see us, no matter what their issue. We ask them to walk. We ask them do they notice anything. The answer is almost always, “no”. This is because they are accustomed to their walking habit. The first queue we notice much of the time is that there is either a bilateral heavy heel strike (because heel strike is normal in walking) or it is heavier on one side. We ask them to hear and feel that heavier strike once we point it out to them. Not only can they feel it, they can hear it. It is something they have rarely been aware of until that moment. We then do the same for forefoot loading. If the anterior compartment is a little weaker on one side or if they departed abruptly off the opposite leg for some reason (decreased hip extension, tight calf, loss of ankle rocker etc), a heavier forefoot loading response will be felt and heard as well (opposite side of the mentioned issues). These are great initial gait queues that anyone can use to gain diagnostic information. It also draws the client into greater body awareness of their habitual patterns of movement. We then draw out the numbers and forces for them so they understand what several thousand cycles of this event can cause into their body and their clinical problems they are presenting with. This is typically a new skill they will develop and always be aware of and be able to report to you as they progress through their care with you. Sound and feeling are key biofeedback tools.
Just remember, they are feeling and hearing what they are doing, not what is wrong ! It is your job to take this information and figure out the “Why” it is happening, and the “how” to fix it. This is the hard part.