• Home
  • A Quick Rundown on Human Gait

A Quick Rundown on Human Gait

What is Gait? Have you ever heard health professionals talk about “gait” and wonder, what on earth are they talking about? Simply put, gait refers to the manner in which we walk! Gait, locomotion, walking and running style are all interchangeable terms. 

Although the idea of walking may seem straightforward at first, the study of human gait can get complex. The repetitive walking motion is referred to as the “gait cycle.” From the time the heel of your foot hits the ground, lifts off and hits again, you have completed one full cycle. In order to accomplish this with high frequency (think thousands per day), the body learns to do so with maximum efficiency. We adjust and adapt to the ever-changing environment around us (obstacles, uneven terrain, having our attention move from one direction to another). It’s easy to take for granted but when you think about it, our ability to do all of this intuitively is really quite impressive! 

Figure 1 – the phases of a gait cycle. Health professionals will typically look at these phases as well as measures (such as step width and walking speed) as clues to possible issues that may be present or arise in the future.

Changes in certain gait measures are normal and even expected from childhood to the later adult years. For example, a child who is first learning how to walk may look like they are waddling or have their feet very far apart. At the opposite end of the spectrum, in our later years, it is common to see a slower walking speed and more time spent with both feet on the ground. These changes happen naturally in order to help us feel more stable.

Gait changes can be subtle and often go unnoticed. While some adaptations are normal and expected, pay attention to any pain or falls. It is best to have these addressed by a physician or an allied health professional. An assessment by an orthotist will always include a gait analysis to ensure you can move about life as freely and pain free as possible.  Call for a free assessment today. 





The Custom Orthotics Team (519) 850-4721 | office@customorthoticsoflondon.com | @cool_bracing


Questions? Comments? Contact us today!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

News Letter