This page will give you information about what to expect at your child's appointment at the gait laboratory.
Gait analysis happens in two stages:
- gathering information about your walking pattern
- putting this information together in a report which will help your doctor make decisions about treatment.
About movement analysis
Walking needs precise timing and activity of the leg muscles. It is not possible to watch the hips, knees and ankles on both sides at the same time with normal video cameras. 3D gait analysis gives us precise information about movements of the legs and their joints.
How is it done?
Small reflective markers, like marbles, are placed using sticky tape on different parts of the legs. This tape is easy to remove afterwards. The movement of these markers when walking is tracked in 3D by a number of cameras linked to a computer. Small receivers placed on the skin with tape pick up the electrical activity in the muscles.
Is it harmful?
Gait analysis simply looks at the usual walking pattern. There is no discomfort caused. Patients are directed along a walkway so that all seven cameras can follow the markers. They can walk at a speed that they find comfortable and can stop for a short rest if they feel tired.
What should my child wear?
The legs and torso need to be seen clearly by the cameras, so the most ideal clothing to wear is a swimsuit (two-piece for girls). Alternatively, a t-shirt and loose shorts can be worn. No shoes or socks are worn during the analysis. Splints and walking aids can be used if needed, and should be brought to the laboratory.
How long does it take?
Depending on the amount of information needed, the analysis can take up to two hours. This involves a number of rest periods.
Patients get an appointment after they are referred to our service by their clinician such as a GP, paediatrician, neurologist or orthopaedic surgeon.
The patient’s community physiotherapist may also refer in consultation with the paediatrician or rehabilitation doctor.
We will send an appointment to the patient or patient’s parents or guardian after we receive a referral.
Please ring 020 7188 2476 to change or cancel your appointment.
Please bring equipment that is used to assist walking (walkers, sticks and splints). It is useful if parents or guardians can bring with them information regarding their child’s early medical history and their motor milestones (when their child first learned to crawl, to stand, to walk).
After your appointment, we analyse the data in the laboratory, write a report and review that report within a team of movement specialists (including clinical scientists and orthopaedic surgeons).
Copies of the report get sent to the patient’s referrer, so that they can discuss it with you and your child at the next appointment. We advise families/patients to contact their referrer if they do not know the date of their follow-up appointment.
You may be seen at the gait laboratory again but the doctor would need to make a new referral.