The evolution of clinical gait analysis. Part II kinematics

Gait Posture. 2002 Oct;16(2):159-79. doi: 10.1016/s0966-6362(02)00004-8.


Kinematics is treated as a single topic in this manuscript and the emphasis is on early history, just as it was in Part I, Electromyography. Needless to say, neither kinematics nor electromyography, nor kinetics and energy (the latter to be included in Part III) are stand-alone components of clinical gait analysis. The only reason for this selective format is that it lessens my task to be able to write about one subject at a time. One of the consequences of this arbitrary separation is that some contributors, who have enriched more than one portion of clinical gait analysis, are highlighted only in the area in which they have contributed the most. I began with Kinesiological Electromyography in Part I because the earliest stirrings of the dream of clinical gait analysis were expressed in the development of KEMG (kinesiological electromyography). The early investigators realized that very little could be said about the dynamic action of muscles without KEMG. Next, in chronological order, came kinematics. I have been an active participant and eyewitness, and take full responsibility for attempting to write an early history at a time when most of the contributors are still alive. Ordinarily, history is written much later, in order to fully grasp the significance of individual contributions in the tapestry of the whole. As stated in Part I, Electromyography, the emphasis has been placed on the early history. The application of motion analysis to sports medicine, and sports medicine functional analysis, is covered only lightly here, and this should not be interpreted as minimizing its importance. The literature on this subject is now quite voluminous and it would not be possible to cover it adequately in this manuscript. Later historical writings may differ significantly and will hopefully give more recognition to pioneers in later generations: those physicians, engineers, physical therapists and kinesiologists who are lifting the level of clinical gait analysis and directing their energies in expanding clinical directions. It is hoped that this manuscript will prompt additional manuscripts, as well as letters to the editor of Gait and Posture on the content of this review paper.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Gait / physiology*
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Orthopedics / history*