The Motion Analysis Center (MAC) located at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Springfield offers state-of-the-art technology for the analysis of complex movement problems. It is one of only two such centers in New England focused on optimizing the clinical care of children and adolescents with orthopaedic and neuromuscular conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, clubfoot, amputations and scoliosis. The MAC at the Springfield Shriners Hospital has been in operation since 1991. It was recently renovated to install upgraded equipment, improve mechanisms for obtaining data and allow for high-definition diagnostic review and decision-making.
During a typical gait assessment in the MAC, children are instructed to begin walking at various color-coded starting points on the floor and to use a natural gait. While walking, each foot steps down on new force platforms that measure how much the foot pushes against the floor to start and stop moving and change direction. Additional lines and circles on the floor assist specialists in performing the gross motor function measure, the timed up and go test and other physical tests. A 10-camera, infrared motion capture system measures the movements of reflective markers attached to the body to track the arms, trunk, pelvis, legs and feet and to compare the movements to reference values.
Assessing the Data
Dr. Rubini Pathy, orthopaedic surgeon, and her team of physical therapists, computer specialists and engineers review graphs that summarize the information collected during gait analysis. A new review area enhances the team’s ability to view and compare results over time and facilitates discussion to determine whether surgery, rehabilitation, bracing or other options are indicated to improve the patient’s function. During the review, the team considers the patient’s medical history, X-rays, kinematics (joint motions), kinetics (forces on the joints) and electromyography (muscle actions) at each instant during walking. Also reviewed are clinical measures of motion, strength and tone, pedobarography (pressures under the foot) and oxygen consumption to determinethe energy used while walking.