Research Archive

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June 23rd, 2011

Usefulness of clinical gait assessment under debate again.

Heathcare providers have historically been reluctant to consider clinical gait assessment an efficient determinant for the selection of surgical procedures, and many papers have been published on the subject.

Wren et al. recently published a paper ( ) that aims to evaluate the evidence of the clinical efficacy of biomechanical gait assessment. Their approach was to review the literature on the subject since 2000 with a framework previously developed for other diagnostic tests.  The overall idea is to score and count  the selected papers according to their level of efficacy (technical, diagnostic, treatment, patient outcome and societal). In short (and also make you read the paper), the results show that out of the 1528 papers reviewed, 240 addressed gait analysis efficacy and a large percentage of those support the technical and diagnostic efficacy of such assessment.  Perhaps the most interesting part is that the efficacy also seems to expand on the patient outcome and societal levels.

This paper is certainly another step towards the recognition of clinical gait assessment, but more will be needed in order to build a sound case for healthcare providers.