home intro relationships exercise Sheryl's
tips for
getting by

Gait analysis goal: Excellent Walking

By Sheryl Jedlinski

Ever since I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I, like many of you, have experienced periodic difficulties walking for one reason or another. I have tried everything from deep tissue massage and acupuncture to land and water physical therapy and cortisone shots. The pain would go away for a little while, but inevitably came back with a vengeance, often in a totally different place.

Those of us with multiple issues tend to shift our weight differently, throwing off our posture, and putting additional weight on areas that cannot support it. To end the cycle of pain, get to the root cause, and effectively treat my problem, I went for a biomechanical gait analysis.

The test is quick and painless, requiring no exertion. I was asked to walk on a treadmill, in both sneakers and bare feet, at a comfortable speed. A camera set-up behind the treadmill recorded video of my gait cycle, and relayed it to a laptop where slow motion and freeze frames allow for detailed analysis of my walking style. Small electrodes or sensors placed on my legs measured stride length, width, cadence, and velocity.  Studying the callous pattern on my feet, and the wear pattern on my shoes (tops and sides not just the bottoms) offered further clues as to my walking issues.

My results were as good as could be expected: everything is fixable with time and strengthening of some muscle groups. So, why did I feel like I had failed? Because with all the hours I spend exercising, I expected to be able to walk faster than 1 m.p.h. without needing to hold on to the side rails of the treadmill. I was certain that at that moment a turtle could beat me in a foot race. Tears welled up in my eyes as anger and frustration got the best of me. The young man videoing offered excuses for why I didn’t perform as well as I had hoped, but I am much too competitive to let myself off that easily.



photo of Sheryl doing gait analysis

I asked the therapist to video me walking down the hallway to prove that I could walk somewhat normally, but he said he didn’t need to. Maybe not, but I needed him to. We compromised… I took a leisurely stroll down the hallway while he watched and nodded approvingly. There was no video.

Back in the test room I noticed there was a giant monitor showing photos of me walking on the treadmill. At the top it said, “Excellent walking.”

“Who the heck were you watching?” I asked, pointing to the words on the monitor.

“Oh, that’s not about your walking,” he explained. “That means excellent picture quality of you walking.”

“I’m so happy that I could help further your videography career,” I told him.



email us directly at: Sheryl@pdplan4life.com

(c) 2015 PDPlan LLC All Rights Reserved

Without express written consent, this material may only be used for your own personal and noncommercial uses which do not harm the reputation of PDPlan LLC, provided that you do not remove any copyright. To request permission to reproduce, please contact PDPlan LLC at Sheryl@pdplan4life.com

blogger partner WPC 2016 in Portland