Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nina's Gait Analysis

Today, Nina had a Gait Analysis done at Mayo Clinic. Now, have I said before that I love Mayo? Well, in case you did not know this, I really do love Mayo! But on to the gait analysis...

If you have never seen one of these, it is a very sweet deal to watch! You know "Gallum"? Well Gallum was made by using the exact same technology that is used for the gait analysis. Now how is that for cool! 

What is a gait analysis? It is a test done to gather as mush data as possible pertaining the "gait" of an individual (or the way one walks). How does the individual look when they walk? What are their muscles doing when the person walks? What is the range of movement? These are basic questions that a gait analysis will answer by simple observation, and some really, really, and I mean really sweet technology!

We walked into a large gym. In the middle, there was a wide "path" marked by purple tape. At the end of the path there was a pretty regular looking video camera. However, all around the gym, up high, nestled in some black poles, were these red lighted cameras. No matter where you stand in the purple path, those cameras can see your body from every single angle that you have (yes, even those that you might not like! There is no hiding problem areas in this gym!)

Next, Nina got her tone and range of motion measured. It took a while to do this, but it was very important to have the measurements done.

Then came the fun part, Nina got 8 special type of microphones on her legs. Okay, I am not sure what they are really called, but that is what they told Nina they were, and they told her her muscles were going to talk to her using those microphones. You know those fancy medical machines you have to be strapped on to when you are in labor? the ones that show a straight line until a contraction comes and then they spike up all over the place? Well, every microphone in Nina's legs had a corresponding line. Every time she moved her leg, the line spiked and made noise. Her muscles were talking! And, the exciting part, is that they were all talking! But some of them, were very quiet.

Third came the fun part. Nina got her "space stickers" on.

See the "backpack" she is wearing? This is where she carried the "information box" that came from her microphones.

Unfortunately Nina was too curious about the silver balls, so they ended up taping them down to make sure they would stay.

Now Nina, do you think you can walk with all those fancy balls attached to you? I think the tech told me that she had over 50 of those on her!

First Nina got to walk without her braces on. This was the part where the space gear was necessary for. You can see how high up she is on her toes, her knees are constantly hitting each other, and her feet are turned in. Also, her left side is much stronger than her right side.

We also put the braces on, and kept on the microphones. You will notice that with her braces on she bends her knees a little more to compensate for the stretch, and even then her heels are up high. Knees? About the same!

This is a still picture, but, at the end of the test, we got to watch the video of her gait test. It is quite interesting to see your kid as a stick figure, especially a stick figure that moves just like them! If you click on the image it will enlarge it and you will notice her heels are way up high, and her knees bent, and her posture really will need to be worked on.

And why is this for? This is all in preparation for Nina's rhizotomy. Doctors need to have all this information on her body so that they can go in having a pretty good idea of where the problem areas are!


  1. that is amazing. modern technology is something else isnt it? where in the cities are you? we are flying out to Philly tomorrow via Minneapolis airport. I would love to get the gait trainer when we are down there, if you will let me have it. email me at katieostar@yahoo.com and maybe we can coordinate. its fun to see how far Nina has come. She came home around the same time as Sophie and Ben, but Sophie is still not walking. still several surgeries in store for her. Ben is likely going back in casts this week when we go to Philly.

  2. Anonymous10:39 AM

    I have questions for you! ;-)

    Is she putting much weight on her legs?

    In the video without the braces in particular, it looks like she's putting almost all her weight onto the walker via her arms.
    If that's the case, it would suggest that she has good strength in her arms. I wonder if she could benefit from forearm or platform crutches?

    Can she stand un-aided?

    I can imagine it's incredibly difficult for her to balance on those tippy toes, and bent knees! It's hard enough to learn how to walk as it is; adding the tippy toes and bent knees must make it incredibly difficult to balance.

    And one last question: ultimately, is she going to go from the walker to independent walking or is there some intermediate step (like crutches or something that I'm not thinking of?)


  3. When we did Angela's gait analysis a few years ago, I swear it was one of the most fascinating tests she's ever had done! We found out a lot of information from doing it!

  4. Anonymous8:24 PM

    I like to see how and what you are doing to help Nina's CP. Thanks for sharing. It makes it more normal and comfortable when you see it in others. Being educated about it is nice!

  5. thank you for this.
    my son is having Gait Analysis done today in Salford, England. I had an idea of what was involved but your videos and blog made it much clearer.
    Thanks again
    http://dderbydave.wordpress.com/ .


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