The objective of using gait analysis for sports activities is to help the athlete achieve the most out of their performance during a game or activity.
A normal gait is marked by the following characteristics - the leg is able to support body weight without collapse or deviation, balance is maintained during the single support phase, there is an advance in swing leg to take over and there is sufficient power for necessary limb movements.
The goal of a healthy gait is to enable the foot to hit the ground in enough supination to create a time delay in functional pronation, to resupinate by midstance in order to have a propulsive lever, to propel the medial side of the forefoot and to prevent functional hallux limitus.
Football or rugby that require speed, agility, power and strength, players are often engaged in quick movements and changes in direction, increasing the potential for lower extremity injuries.
Since the management and prevention of injuries resulting from overuse or trauma, are top priorities in any sport, a thorough gait evaluation serves as a good indicator of the likelihood of an individual developing a condition, both on and off the field.
With the latest 3D technology being utilised to assess and monitor the efficiency of gait, the personalised data obtained from this process can be used to produce a functional orthotic that can provide the appropriate support and correction required for a successful treatment outcome.
For this reason, a static and dynamic assessment of the athlete is necessary to spot any biomechanical discrepancies such as hyperpronation, a varus/valgus deformity or an aberrant-shaped Achilles tendon during gait.
These give a better insight into individual levels of strength, mobility, stability and flexibility which are all critical components in training and performance.
Hewett et al. demonstrated this in their study on female athletes with decreased neuromuscular control and increased valgus joint loading, which increased their chances for anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Nine female athletes in high-risk sports such as soccer, basketball and volleyball had a confirmed anterior cruciate ligament rupture, after a prescreening process showed increased dynamic valgus and high abduction loads, thereby confirming knee motion and knee loading as reliable biomechanical predictors of anterior cruciate ligament injury risk.
A progressive approach to both rehabilitation and prevention is required to reduce the likelihood of re-injury and to get the players back on the field quickly and safely.
It is highly important to conduct a thorough evaluation of the athlete’s foot structure, as well as shoe and cleat wear, and to make adjustments and additions (namely an orthotic inclusion) accordingly.
MASS4D® orthotics attempt to support the joints of the foot before any pathological movement occurs, in order to prevent the onset of excessive structural collapse.
This is the reason for the success of MASS4D® orthotic in active rehabilitation programmes and for treating lower extremity biomechanical and enhancing athletic performance.
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