Gait Analysis and hip osteoarthritis
In the past I have jokingly referred to gait analysis as a way to predict the future. I can watch you walk, analyse your foot function and be pretty certain whether you will have hip, knee or ankle pain in the next decade. Foot function rarely alters, it gets worse but if you have high big toe impact at 18 the chances are you will continue to have high big toe impact at 48 and some nice bunions to go with it!
And now it seems like the medical institution is starting to agree with me!
This recent study has 2 key points about gait analysis and it’s relationship to hip osteoarthritis:
- gait analysis and a thorough physical assessment are crucial before a hip replacement
- gait analysis shows that gait function changes after a hip replacement
So what does this mean? This means that a full, clinical video gait analysis should be done prior to hip surgery. That a physical assessment is also critical. These two things combined can determine whether hip surgery is necessary or not. I’ve spoken before about how hip pain can be confusing – there are many contributing factors and, while you might have some slight deterioration at the joint, this might not be the true cause of your pain – a video gait analysis combined with a thorough clinical assessment will determine this.
Perhaps, with the correct assessment surgery isn’t required at all?
And it also looked at how patients did after surgery. Those that did not have surgery had no changes to gait function while those that did have surgery had a change to gait function.
So a video gait analysis would then seem to be a critical tool post surgery as well, see those changes, determine if there are any issues and then manage those.