The OptoGait is a state of the art performance analysis tool, and is currently being utilized by some of the top athletes and performance centers in the world. The core of the system is in the transmitting and receiving bars. Each one contains 96 LEDs communicating on an infrared (visible) frequency with the same number of LEDs on the opposite bar. Once positioned on the floor or on the treadmill, the system detects the interruptions of the communication between the bars - caused by the athlete’s movements - and calculates the duration and position. During the execution of a running gait or series of jumps test, the contact and flight times can be measured with an accuracy of 1 thousandth of a second and the position of the interrupted LEDs with a space resolution of 1,041 cm. Starting from this basic data, the system calculates a series of performance data points, including acceleration, power, contact time, and many other important parameters.
Clinically, we can use the system in two distinct ways – either on the treadmill, or stand alone. The treadmill system is an incredibly powerful tool for both running injury rehabilitation, and for pre-season performance testing. When rehabbing a running injury, we test all parameters of the running gait cycle, and look for any deficiencies in form that may be contributing to repetitive micro-trauma of the joint or tissue in question. Very often, what appears normal when viewed in real time, or even in slow motion video, shows as abnormal on the OptoGait analysis report. We are able to see the most subtle differences in the phases of gait, that over time are causing the injury. We can then take this data and apply it directly to the therapy and rehabilitation plan either through gait training, strength training, or a combination of the two. Additionally, when orthotic intervention is indicated, we are able to compare data from running trials both with and without the orthotic to confirm that the devise is having a desired corrective effect.
The stand-alone system can be used to perform a number of protocols to either evaluate athletic performance or identify injury risk factors. An example of this would be the Drift Protocol, which is a test of lower limb dynamic stability. In an otherwise healthy athlete, a discrepancy between left and right limbs is a positive risk factor for future injury – this data can be used to customize a training plan for that athlete to improve dynamic stability in the affected limb and reduce injury risk. And for an already injured athlete in the clinic, this test can be used as a baseline to assess progress in therapy and guide return-to-play decisions.
We are extremely proud to be one of the few clinic in the Portland area utilizing the OptoGait system, and feel that it gives us a distinct advantage in therapy and performance analysis over the competition. It has already become an integral tool in guiding our therapy plans and return-to-sport decisions, and is ultimately helping us make the most informed decisions when it comes to our patients’ health. To learn more about the Optogait system please visit http://www.mybeavertonchiropractor.com/
Learn more about Dr. Meisenhelder at http://www.mybeavertonchiropractor.com/
Dr. Adam Meisenhelder is a sports chiropractor in Beaverton, OR specializing in working with injured runners and endurance athletes.