Gait Analysis Laboratory

Welcome to the Gait Lab

Our Gait Analysis Laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility at Ryegate Children’s Centre where we measure and analyse walking. We use specialist equipment to look closely at the movement of legs and feet and the forces acting on joints during walking.

We use our findings to work out the cause of any walking problems and our team of experts (orthopaedic surgeons, specialist physiotherapists and clinical scientists) use this information to decide on the best kind of treatment.

We work with children, young people and adults with a number of conditions including cerebral palsyclub foot (talipes), spina bifida, acquired brain injury, foot deformities and limb length discrepancies.

How we measure your walking

‘Gait’ means ‘walking’ and the Gait Analysis Laboratory is actually a large room with lots of equipment for measuring walking. We have three ways of doing this:

Video

We record you walking up and down the laboratory walkway. You will be asked to walk with your shoes on (and splints if you have them) and barefoot (if you can). You will be able to use any walking aids you use normally.

Clinical measurements

We take clinical measurements to find out how your legs ‘line up’, how much movement you have, how much your muscles work and if your muscles are tight. We use simple rulers and frames to do this and it is completely painless.

Computer measurements

Twelve infrared cameras are positioned around the room to bounce light off special markers on the body (we call them baubles). These are shiny balls that are stuck on your feet, legs and hips with tape. They are very light and putting them on doesn’t hurt at all. When we have all the measurements we need you can take them off for us.

We’ll ask you to walk up and down the room while the cameras catch the light from the baubles. If you normally use walking aids you can still use them to help you.

The information from the cameras is sent to a computer and our scientists use it to make a model of you walking. You can see an example of this in the video below. You’ll be able to watch your model walking at the end of your session and can take a video of it with your mobile phone if you like.

After your gait analysis appointment

All the information we collect during your appointment is made into a report. A few days after your appointment the Gait Analysis Laboratory team meet to talk about the report and decide on the best kind of treatment for you. This could include one or more possible options such as therapy, splints, botulinum toxin, surgery or medication.

At your next hospital appointment your doctor will discuss the plans with you and your family.

National accreditation

The laboratory is one of only 14 in the UK to be accredited by the Clinical Movement Analysis Society (CMAS). Accreditation is gained after a rigorous audit process that makes sure we meet the very highest standards of gait analysis. Members of our team are actively involved in CMAS committees and take part in auditing other gait laboratories.

FAQs about gait lab appointments

How long will my appointment take?
The appointment will take up to two hours so you can bring a snack and drink if you like. You won’t be walking all the time and can have a break if you get tired.
Does it hurt?
You don’t need to worry about any of the tests causing you pain. We use cameras and measuring equipment which don’t hurt at all. Taking the sticky baubles off can be a bit fiddly but we let you remove them yourself to make it easier.
Who should come with me?
Your parents or carers can come into the room with you for all the tests. Other family members are welcome too but as we need you to follow instructions and concentrate they may be asked to wait in the waiting room.
What should I wear?
  • your usual shoes
  • a two-piece swimming costume or trunks OR
  • a cropped top or close-fitting t-shirt and close-fitting shorts

Please don’t wear long shorts, leggings, leotard or one-piece swimming costume as these can interfere with some of the tests.

What should I bring?
  • a drink and/or snack
  • any walking aids e.g. rollator, crutches or sticks
  • any splints you normally use to walk in

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