First Step Foot Care in partnership with local physical therapists, is one of only a handful of practices in the United States to offer Computerized and Video Analysis of walking. Through a sophisticated network of computer sensors placed the lower extremity and a video camera to record the walking process, abnormal foot function can be critically evaluated and its influence on other parts of the body determined. The ability to show problems caused by the foot and lower extremity in motion means even more accurate diagnosis and treatment of foot and related conditions. Called Gait Analysis, the benefits of this new technology range from relief of pain to the slowing of degenerative conditions and the prevention of specific muscle, bone and joint problems at remote sites. In fact, through early detection, the need for surgical procedures on the foot and other areas of the body such as the lower back, knees, hips, etc. can often be postponed, if not eliminated. In general, gait analysis is the study of the body's motion during normal running and walking; it typically focuses on foot and ankle motion but can also assess motion at the knees, hips, trunk, and arms.
The process involves evaluating the leg's anatomical structure, muscle flexibility and strength - assessing how those factors influence the way a person runs or walks. Weak or inflexible muscles, if stressed by a lot of running or walking over time, can lead to injury. And even a simple movement such as an excessive arm swing can make a difference in the performance of a competitive runner, adding a precious second or two to running times. Gait analysis can demonstrate, from a biomechanical standpoint, what you are doing when you walk or run. It may show where someone is inflexible or weak in a specific muscle. The whole point of gait analysis is to understand why you do what you do. Our precisely positioned video cameras will record you walking or running on a treadmill. The frame-by-frame video helps us make a more precise assessment and thus build a better orthotic specifically suited to you.
Orthotics are devices that fit into your shoes to improve natural foot function. They are not arch supports. In fact, arch supports do nothing to correct foot problems, although they may temporarily relieve symptoms. Functional orthotics are prescription medical devices. They can significantly alter the progression of many foot deformities. With properly constructed orthotics, an individual will feel definite improvements in the painful areas of their body affected by the abnormal foot function. With our customized software, we'll show you graphically the relationship between your gait and your shoe mechanics - that is, the way you and your body moves and how that interacts with your footwear. We also archive your electronic file so that we can compare changes in your biomechanics over time.