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Because of the eccentric control required to decelerate the advancing center of gravity as well as to deal with ground reaction forces, loading response and mid-stance tend to be the phases of the gait cycle where clients will demonstrate the most issues.
Common dysfunctions during these phases include poor eccentric control of the foot lowering to the ground, poor deceleration of ankle dorsiflexion as the tibia is moving forward of the foot, and poor eccentric control of the lower extremity during mid-stance where the client must stabilize their center of gravity in unilateral stance.
At this point there is double leg support because the contralateral foot (trail leg) is still in contact with the ground.
Mid-stance begins as the center of gravity (COG) moves directly over the referenced foot and represents the only point in the gait cycle where the COG is directly over the base of support.
Walking is the one activity virtually all of our clients have in common regardless of age, gender, occupation, sport, or motor skill level and is often the very thing that is driving their chronic foot, knee, low back, and even shoulder and neck problems.
Part I of this article discusses the basics of the human gait cycle, highlights a few of the more common problems that occur during the gait cycle, and introduces the principles of corrective movement.
The four gait assessments include: These four tests will assess individual's ability to support and loads the lower extremity, to progress through the ankle (ankle rocker), and to breathe and stabilize the core (Osar, 2010).
Please Note: There are several hands-on components to the assessment and you should always work within your scope of practice as a fitness professional.
It is important to refer out to an appropriate health care professional for more significant conditions that require medical attention, including, but not limited to, neurological symptoms, muscle atrophy, and/or labored breathing.
During terminal stance, the body is advancing over the referenced foot and the heel starts to rise from the ground.
Proper ankle rocker is required to prevent early heel rise or excessive transverse plane motion (abduction) through the foot (Allen et al., 2007).