Welcome to Monday and News You Can Use. Got Arm swing? This exercise, borrowed from Shirley Saurmann can be a great adjunct to your rehab program, dispensed with some muscle physiology : )

Do it on your self
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Got Arm Swing?

We have written many times about arm swing. Click here for some of our posts here on Tumblr.

Here we are again at the beach. Look at the beautiful difference in arm swing from side to side in the guy carrying the bag. Makes you want to tell him to use a backpack, eh?

Never mind what it does to his gait

  • decreased arm swing on the carrying side
  • increased step length on the left side
  • increased thigh flexion of the left side
  • increased body lean and head tilt to right side (Take a look at this paper)

think about the increased metabolic cost. Think about what this  type of input (increased amplitude of movement unilaterally) is doing to your cortex!

keep your movements symmetrical, folks!

The Gait Guys

So you want to do a Gait Analysis: Part 4

This is the 4th in a multi part series. If you missed part 1, click here. For part 2, click here, part 3, click here

These are the basics, folks. We hope this is a review for many.

A quick review of the walking gait cycle components:

There are two phases of gait: stance and swing

Stance consists of:

  • Initial contact
  • Loading response
  • Midstance
  • Terminal stance
  • Pre-swing

Swing consists of:

  • initial (early) swing
  • mid swing
  • terminal (late) swing

today, lets explore Terminal stance

Terminal stance is one of the last stages of stance phase. Following midstance, where maximal pronation should be occurring, the stance phase foot should now begin supinating, initiated by the the opposite foot in swing phase moving forward of the center of gravity. 

Lets look at what is happening here at the major anatomical areas:


  • Supination begins from the opposite, swing phase leg (see above)
  •  the calcaneus inverts to neutral
  •  the center of gravity of the foot raises from its lowest point at midstance
  • The lower leg should begin externally rotating (as it follows the talus)
  • The thigh should follow the lower leg and should also be externally rotating; sometimes to a greater extent due to the shape and size of the medial condyle of the femur (which is larger than the lateral)
  • these actions are perpetuated by the gluteus maximus and posterior fibers of the gluteus medius, as well as posterior compartment of the lower leg including the flexor digitorum longus, flexor hallucis longus, peroneus longus and tibialis posterior
  • The ankle should be 5 degrees dorsiflexed and in ankle rocker
  • the calcaneocuboid locking mechanism should be engaging to assist the peroneus longus in getting the head of the 1st metatarsal to the ground


  • near or at full extension. This is perpetuated by the quadriceps and biceps femoris, contracting concentrically and attenuated by the semi membranosis and tendonosis. The popliteus contracts eccentrically as soon as the knee passes midstance to keep the rates of external rotation of the tibia and femur in congruence.


  • The hip should be extending to 10 degrees.

Can you picture what is happening? Try and visualize these motions in your mind. Can you understand why you need to know what is going on at each phase to be able to identify problems? If you don’t know what normal looks like, you will have a tougher time figuring out what is abnormal.

Ivo and Shawn. Gait and foot geeks extraordinaire. Helping you to build a better foundation to put all this stuff you are learning on.

pictured used with permission from Foot Orthoses and Other Conservative Forms of Foot Care

Correcting a cross over gait with arm swing? Is it really THAT easy? Sometimes, yes!

We noticed this patient had a cross over gait while running (1st few seconds of video. need to know more about crossover gait? click here). We noted she was crossing her arms over her body as well. We than had her run her hands and arms straight out. See the crossover disappear? Need to know more about arm swing? click here

We the had her do the same while walking. Easier to see, eh? That’s because it is often easier to “fudge” things when you are moving faster (ie: the basal ganglia of nervous system can interpolate where the body part is supposed to be, and because of momentum, there is less need for precision). When we do things slowly (like the 3 second Test), more precision is needed. Watch this short video clip a few more times.

The arms are essentially adducting when the arms cross over. The arms are reciprocally paired with the contralateral lower extremity. When you make a change in one, you often will make a change in the other.

Subtle. Yes. Easier to see when the task becomes more difficult. Yes. Pay attention, the answer is often right there if you look closely enough.

Providing the clues to help you be smarter, better, faster, stronger; we are The Gait Guys

special thanks to “Q” for allowing us to publish this video : )

Gait Cycle Basics: Part 5

Swing Phase

Our final chapter in this series….

Swing phase is less variable in its classification. It begins at toe off and ends at heel strike. It comprises 38% of the gait cycle.There must be adequate dorsiflexion of the ankle, and flexion of the knee and hip to allow forward progression.


The following classification is most commonly used:

Early swing: occurring immediately after toe off. There is contraction of the dorsiflexors of the ankle, and flexors of the knee and hip


Midswing: halfway through the swing cycle, when the swing phase leg is passing the midstance phase extremity. Acceleration of the extremity has occurred up to this point.


Late swing: deceleration of the extremity in preparation for heel strike. There is contraction of the extenders of the thigh and knee, as well as dorsiflexors of the ankle.


Perry defines the phases as:

Initial swing: the 1st third of swing phase, when the foot leaves the round until it is opposite the stance foot.

Mid swing: the time from when the swing foot is opposite the stance foot until the swinging limb is anterior to the stance phase tibia

Terminal swing: from the end of midswing, until heel strike

And there you have it. A nice review of the gait cycle. Probably more than you wanted to know, but we want to give you the facts.

Telling it like it is. We are…The Gait guys