In the clinic, we often only have the length of the gym to analyze a patient's gait pattern. They patient may walk back and forth 2-3 times, giving you a total of 30 seconds to 1 minute to fully assess their pattern and recognize any deviations.
In this post from the Physioblogger, he discusses his Quick Gait Assessment. His assessment includes looking at the feet, hips, and trunk. He starts at the feet and works cephalad. Beginning at the feet, he assesses heel to toe progression and the amount of pronation/supination. Next at the hips, he analyzes frontal plane motion and the amount of pelvic sway. Finally in the thoracic region, quick notes are made on the amount of arm swing and trunk stiffness.
-No diagnosis is made during the gait assessment. Formulating hypotheses as to why a deviation is present is fine, but do not make definitive judgements as to why deviations are occurring. It is simply an observation.
-Always remember a patient's injury, mechanism, lifestyle. What structures are involved? How can this injury/ their lifestyle impact the gait cycle?
-If possible, videotape your patients! Watch their gait patterns after they are gone. Take a few notes, perform the appropriate tests and measure, and act accordingly!
Everyone has a different system they use for their quick gait assessment. Having a consistent method and practicing that method is important to your success as a therapist. Remember, we are movement analysis specialists.