Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gait Analysis: How Well are You Walking?

Watch a person walk down the street. Even from a distance you are making unconscious assumptions about their age, athleticism, and self confidence.

There are two main styles of walking:
  • The Leaning Tower: When a person leans forward and puts out a foot to catch themselves as they walk. They are using gravity to keep moving. Typically, when a person walks this way, their leg is straight and their hip joints are stiff, because their hip joint is being used like a hinge joint (like the knee) rather than as a ball and socket. The focus of the stride is on the beginning of the step. This is linked to hip problems, knee problems and lower back pain.
  • The Balanced Stride: When a person has a upright (centered) position over the stride. The knees are flexed (very slightly bent), the ankles bend, the hips (and core of the body) rotate with each step. The focus of the stride is on the finish of the step. Each joint is moving as it should, pain and future (or past) problems are minimized.
The non-verbal impression of the Leaning Tower Stride is old, non-athletic and lacking self-confidence. Your impression of the Balanced Stride is youthful, fit and confident.

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