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What to expect at the Portland Shriners Hospital.

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Motion analysis center

Motion analysis center

Motion analysis center

The motion analysis center, established in 1984, supports the mission of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland, including clinical care, research and education. This department performs clinical motion analysis, which ultimately provides insight into patients’ movement abnormalities and helps inform treatment planning and outcome evaluation.

Purpose of motion analysis

Computerized motion analysis provides objective and quantitative data that assists in identifying specific problems in a child’s gait. Additionally, the data helps identify the causes of the abnormalities and assists medical staff in determining treatment plans. For example, gait deviations may be due to impairments such as muscle weakness, abnormal muscle tone, muscle contracture, abnormal joint position or reduced range of motion.

Gait analysis helps differentiate the patients’ abnormalities and compensatory strategies. The quantitative information obtained helps formulate recommendations such as surgical procedures (osteotomy, fusion, tendon lengthening/transfer/release), tone management, physical therapy, occupational therapy, orthoses, prostheses and assistive walking devices. Baseline evaluation can be compared to subsequent assessment to follow the progression of gait problems. Preoperative evaluation of complex gait abnormalities helps identify multiple problems, eliminate unnecessary surgery, and inform a treatment plan that may involve single event multi-level surgeries. Postoperative gait analysis provides opportunities to evaluate treatment outcomes and helps the physicians to accumulate experience about the predicted and unpredicted outcomes of each surgery.

Interdisciplinary treatment planning

Team members at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland hold weekly interdisciplinary meetings to review patients’ motion analysis findings and discuss various treatment options. Later, the attending physician will discuss recommendations with the family during an outpatient clinic visit, and will jointly create the course of treatment with timelines.

Components of motion analysis

  • Video provides an overall impression and documentation of the gait/motion abnormality. Slow motion and/or close-up views enable a more detailed examination.
  • Clinical examination focuses on joint range of motion, muscle strength, muscle tone, motor control, bony alignment, and standardized outcome measures of function and participation.
  • Kinematics is calculated based on biomechanical models and three-dimensional coordinates of markers and presented as linear or angular displacement, velocity and acceleration. Spatiotemporal gait parameters such as cadence, velocity, stride length, step length and step width are also reported.
  • Kinetics is calculated based on kinematics and ground reaction forces recorded using force plates, and is presented as ground reaction forces, joint moments and joint powers.
  • Electromyography (EMG) records the timing and relative intensity of electrical activities produced by skeletal muscles during contractions.
  • Foot pressure data provides information about foot contact pattern and distribution of force through the foot during walking. 

Conditions that benefit from motion analysis

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Hereditary spastic paraplegia
  • Rotational malalignment
  • Toe-walking
  • Clubfoot
  • Foot deformity
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Skeletal dysplasia
  • Slipped capital femoral epiphysis
  • Leg length discrepancy
  • Genu valgum or varum
  • Spina bifida
  • Arthrogryposis
  • Amputation

What to expect during a gait analysis study – frequently asked questions

What is a gait analysis study?

It is a way of using computerized motion analysis data to understand how your child moves, and what problems your child may be experiencing with walking.

How can motion analysis help my child?

Information generated in a gait analysis study allows the team to formulate possible treatment recommendations for your child. The quantitative data and team approach enables better decision making.

How long will the visit take?

A full gait analysis study typically takes between two to three hours, depending on the conditions to be tested and the limitations of the patient. Because the testing involves a lot of walking, your child will be able to take breaks as needed. 

What should my child wear?

It is best to wear a snug fitting pair of shorts (ie. spandex bike shorts) and a T-shirt or tank top; loose or baggy clothes are not recommended. We need to be able to see as many joints as possible to most accurately assess your child’s movement. We will test your child barefoot. If your child wears an orthosis, we will also test your child wearing their orthosis with his/her typical footwear.

What else should I bring?

Please bring any aides that your child uses to walk including devices like walkers, crutches, canes, or orthotic or prosthetic devices. It is important not to forget to bring any orthoses that your child uses to walk.

Who can bring my child?

Children under 15 years old must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Will any part of the visit be painful?

No. Your child should not experience any pain during testing. However, we do use sticky tape to attach the reflective balls (markers) to the patient’s skin. Some children experience a minimal amount of discomfort when we remove the tape.

Will my child be exposed to any radiation?

No. Your child will not be exposed to radiation. Our cameras are infrared and do not generate radiation.

Can you measure my child’s change over time or after treatment?

Yes. All of the information collected during a gait analysis study is used to measure change over time or after treatment. Specific standardized tools may also be used to help quantify functional changes and to help assess your child’s overall quality of life.

How do families get the results?

Families will receive the results and accompanying recommendation at their next clinic appointment.

Our team

Motion analysis center team

Contact us

Motion Analysis Center
Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland
3101 SW Sam Jackson Park Road
Portland, OR 97239
Phone: (503) 221-3487

How to get a referral

Before visiting the motion analysis center, a child must first become a Portland Shriners Hospital patient and be seen by one of our physicians. The physician can then order the motion study. Typically, this appointment will take place at a later date. After the physician has received data from the appointment, they will review the results with the patient and family at the patient’s next clinic appointment. New patient intake: 503-221-3422

Read more about motion analysis

Open the links below and then click on the “PDF” icon to open the articles.

Jing Feng, Jane Wick, Erin Bompiani, Michael Aiona. “Applications of gait analysis in pediatric orthopaedics”, Current Orthopaedic Practice, Vol. 27, No. 4, 455-464, 2016 

Jane Wick, Jing Feng, Ellen Raney, Michael Aiona. “Single-event multilevel surgery to correct movement disorders in children with cerebral palsy”. AORN, Vol. 108, No. 5, 516-531, 2018