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Gait: Clinical Observation and Orthotic Intervention - PART 1

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Gait: Clinical Observation and Orthotic Intervention - PART 1

Gait: Clinical Observation and Orthotic Intervention - PART 1

This course includes
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Certificate of completion


Gait observation is a complex part of routine clinical examination for many rehabilitation professionals. Each child has a unique gait pattern, and obtaining and interpreting accurate visual observations is an important clinical skill. Gait assessment can also guide decisions about the design and alignment of ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) to optimize the match between the child, orthosis, and footwear. This 2-part online course will assist clinicians in moving away from traditional trial-and-error-based approaches to AFO management, to create client-specific goals and evaluate their effects based on current evidence. 

Part 1 of this course examines gait in detail and provides practical, evidence-based strategies to help the learner approach gait observation in a way that yields more accurate and clinically meaningful information. Part 2 focuses on orthotic intervention and aims to increase the learner’s knowledge and confidence in understanding AFO prescription choices that are tailored to the individual child. 

Parts 1 and 2 can be purchased together by selecting the bundle option at checkout; if you choose this option, you will have access to over 14 hours of recorded content, plus learning activities and quizzes to help you integrate the knowledge and skills you gain.


Learning objectives

Part 1: Normal and Pathological Gait - Mechanics and Observation 

  • Review the gait cycle and identify key aspects for assessment and management
  • Describe the motion of lower extremity joints and segments, and primary muscle actions through the gait cycle
  • Understand the role of the ground reaction force in normal and pathological gait
  • Apply practical tips to improve the reliability and validity of gait observation


Part 2: Individualized AFO Prescription, Goal Setting, and Evaluation 

  • Describe common types of AFOs and general indications for each type
  • Discuss the biomechanical mechanisms of AFOs and their application for common pediatric gait impairments
  • Identify key components of an AFO prescription and relevant clinical considerations
  • Understand the role of the ground reaction force in tuning and optimizing AFO-footwear combinations
  • Select and use clinical evaluation measures that are relevant to AFO prescription
  • Set biomechanical goals, make AFO prescription recommendations, and evaluate orthotic effectiveness based on best evidence
  • Apply gait observations and physical assessment findings to communicate more effectively about orthotic prescription and tuning to address the biomechanical goals of individual clients

You can learn more about Part 2 by visiting this page.


Course structure

This course is organized into two parts:

  1. Normal and pathological gait - mechanics and observation
  2. Individualized AFO prescription, goal setting, and evaluation 

Part 1 is a prerequisite to Part 2.

Each part of the course includes videos, quizzes, worksheets, and learning activities to help clinicians apply the information in practice. Learners are encouraged to ask questions and engage with the instructor via email.



This intermediate course is designed for physiotherapists but is also relevant to orthotists, physicians, and other rehabilitation professionals who assess gait and/or orthoses. While the focus is on pediatrics, the content also applies to adults. 

The instructors
Dr. Kyra Kane (she/her)

Dr. Kyra Kane has been a registered physical therapist since 1997, with clinical experience in pediatrics and orthopaedics. She is a full-time clinician, adjunct professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science at the University of Saskatchewan, and Research Advisor for the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. Kyra has an MSc in Kinesiology and Health Studies, a PhD in Health Sciences, and extensive postgraduate training and clinical experience in biomechanical gait analysis and orthotic intervention.

Kyra is passionate about supporting the clinical application of evidence and best practices. She has presented her research nationally and internationally through journals, conferences, lectures, and webinars. Her research interests include examining evidence-based use of individualized ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) for children, understanding the experiences of children and clinicians with AFO prescription, and improving pediatric gait measurement and rehabilitation outcomes.

Course Material included in this course
  • 1. Introduction
  • Introduction
  • Let's talk about normal
  • Welcome survey
  • Course slides
  • Gait cycle refresher (**See answer key for worksheets in separate document)
  • Gait cycle refresher -- Answer key for worksheets
  • 2. Approaches to gait assessment
  • Approaching gait assessment
  • Five prerequisites for gait
  • Typical development of gait: Lesson video
  • Typical development of gait: Examples of children of different ages
  • Typical development of gait: Survey
  • Reflections on the five prerequisites for gait
  • Reflections on the five prerequisites for gait: Survey
  • Debrief following your reflections on developmental considerations and 5 prerequisites for gait
  • Quiz: Approaches to gait assessment
  • Lesson 2 feedback
  • 3. Overview of the gait cycle and kinematics
  • Overview of the gait cycle
  • Gait cycle kinematics (motion of the joints and segments)
  • Gait Cycle Scramble
  • Quiz: Gait cycle kinematics
  • A closer look at kinematics
  • A closer look at kinematics: Kinematic graphs worksheet (Accompanies video lesson)
  • The Rockers in Gait
  • Lesson 3 feedback
  • 4. Biomechanical principles: Moments and the GRF
  • Forces
  • Moments of force
  • Quiz: Moments and GRF (Open the PDF "Moments and GRF worksheet" below when completing quiz)
  • Moments and GRF worksheet (Accompanies quiz)
  • Lesson 4 feedback
  • More about the GRF and gait
  • 5. Kinetics and the gait cycle
  • Quiz: Muscle actions in gait self-assessment
  • Kinetics and muscle actions in the gait cycle
  • Kinetics and muscle actions: Internal moments
  • Quiz: Muscle actions and GRF (Open the PDF "Muscle actions and GRF worksheet" below when completing quiz)
  • Muscle actions and GRF worksheet (Accompanies quiz)
  • Kinetics in stance phase: representative sample
  • Gait cycle overview handout
  • Lesson 5 feedback
  • 6. Pathological gait: Impairments
  • Pathological gait: Impairments
  • Pathological gait and lever arm dysfunction
  • Gait impairments and cerebral palsy
  • Biomechanical effects of impairments on gait: Disentangling cause and effect in the literature
  • Quiz: Impairments and Pathological gait
  • Lesson 6 feedback
  • 7. Gait observation
  • Introduction to gait observation
  • Current gait assessment methods and the limitations of visual observation
  • Improving the validity and reliability of visual observation
  • Improving the validity and reliability of visual observation: Literature review on gait observation methods orthotic evaluation in pediatrics
  • Observing kinematics: Practice exercise #1 **See sample worksheet below
  • Observing kinematics: Practice exercise (*Sample worksheet and guide to accompany video above)
  • Observing kinematics - survey
  • Gait observation and kinetics
  • Observing kinematics: Practice exercise #2 (*See sample worksheet for observation exercise #1 above)
  • Kinematics practice exercise #2: Coronal plane gait cycle scramble LEFT LEG (answer key in PDF below)
  • Kinematics practice exercise #2: Coronal plane gait cycle scramble ANSWER KEY (LEFT LEG)
  • Lesson 7 feedback
  • 8. Physical examination
  • Introduction to physical examination
  • Intoeing and the physical examination
  • Physical exam - part I
  • The Physical Exam - Part II
  • Check-in
  • Lesson 8 feedback
  • 9. Summary and further practice
  • Summary and further practice
  • Course feedback
  • Final comments and check-in
  • Course References
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