(SOLVED!) How Does The Foot Function During The Gait Cycle?

There are several defined phases within each step taken that take into account the different functions of the foot πŸ™Œ Initial foot contact, mid stance and propulsion are common phases that are reviewed 😁 If you have seen a podiatrist then you will have probably undergone a gait analysis where they check your foot position throughout each phase. There is significant variability of an individuals movement during walking or running and this is why no two gait patterns are the same. We do however consider that normative ranges of motion occur and as you can appreciate this range is like a bandwidth for which we would like most feet and lower limbs to function within. [1]
Walking depends on the repeated performance by the lower limbs of a sequence of motions that simultaneously advances the body along the desired line of progression while also maintaining a stable weight-bearing posture. Effectiveness depends on free joint mobility and muscle action that is selective in both timing and intensity. Normal function is also optimally conservative of physiologic energy. Pathologic conditions alter the mode and efficiency of walking. The loss of some actions necessitates substitution of others if forward progression and stance stability are to be preserved. Through a detailed knowledge of normal function and the types of gait errors that the various pathologic conditions can introduce, the clinician becomes able to define the significant deficits and plan appropriate corrective measures. (we thank Detoya Almeida from Kolhapur, India for their insights). [2]
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As the name suggests, the heel rise phase begins when the heel begins to leave the ground. During this phase, the foot functions as a rigid lever to move the body forward. During this phase of walking, the forces that go through the foot are quite significant: often 2-3x a person’s body weight. This is because the foot creates a lever arm (centered on the ankle), which serves to magnify body weight forces. Given these high forces and considering that the average human takes 3000-5000 steps per day (an active person commonly takes 10,000 steps/day), it is not surprising that the foot can easily develop chronic repetitive stress-related problems, such as metatarsalgia, bunions, posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, peroneal tendonitis, and sesamoiditis. (edited by Kevin F. From Qinzhou, China on August 22, 2020) [3]
Image #3
To truly understand pathologies or injuries in human locomotion, we must first understand the methods in which our patient or athlete needs to move. Gait (walking or running) is typically considered the method by which movement from point A to B occurs. Gait evaluation helps to understand specific asymmetries related to the way we move. Gait measurement can be done using kinetic (force) and kinematic (spatial/temporal) information. A standard gait evaluation requires at the very least one complete gait cycle, which comprises of a foot strike with observed leg, a contralateral foot strike with the other leg, followed by another foot strike with the observed leg. Of course, the more foot strikes analyzed the better to accomodate a consistent pool of natural foot strikes due their inherent variability. [4]

Article References

  1. https://www.footbionics.com/Patients/The+Gait+Cycle.html
  2. http://www.oandplibrary.org/alp/chap13-01.asp
  3. https://footeducation.com/biomechanics-of-walking-gait/
  4. https://www.tekscan.com/blog/medical/gait-cycle-phases-parameters-evaluate-technology
Mae Chow

Written by Mae Chow

Passionate about writing and studying Chinese, I blog about anything from fashion to food. And of course, study chinese! I'm a passionate blogger and life enthusiast who loves to share my thoughts, views and opinions with the world. I share things that are close to my heart as well as topics from all over the world.

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