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Book and Media Reviews
August 25, 2010

Gait Analysis: Normal and Pathological Function

JAMA. 2010;304(8):907. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1210

In this second edition of Gait Analysis, Jacquelin Perry and Judith Burnfield update and further the understanding of human gait, both normal and pathologic. Their excellent and subtle changes have enhanced the book's value, both as a primer and as an encyclopedic reference on gait.

The book largely follows the format of the first edition. Using observational gait analysis as a standard of clinical care, the book tries to further the understanding of what happens during each part of gait, ie, muscle activity, timing, and the interrelationships of each body part and joint during each stage of the gait cycle. At the same time, what happens during these stages to the center of mass (ie, the weight-shift effect) and to vectors and dynamic stability is clear and understandable. The authors allude to what the observer “sees.” New methods of gait analysis have more accurately characterized various parts of the gait cycle. For example, initial contact, which the authors state in their introduction was poorly defined in the prior edition, is now accurately defined with regard to its intensity, timing, and muscle activity. New information furthers the understanding of what happens during “push off.” The idea of tendon recoil, rather than muscle fiber shortening, being the major force is clearly not discernible by observation alone and is seen only on ultrasound studies, motion analysis, and dynamic electromyography (EMG) studies.

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