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Miracle Maker: Gait and Motion Analysis Transforms Kids’ Lives, Patient Care

Deciding which treatments can most effectively help each patient can be a challenging task for any children’s hospital. At Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, many of our patients have complex medical conditions such as cerebral palsy. For these patients, the combinations of treatment options available to them can be as equally complex as their condition itself. And because each child is different, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach.

That’s where the James R. Gage Center for Gait and Motion Analysis comes in. Nicknamed the “Gait Lab,” this state-of-the-science facility is among the world’s busiest clinical motion analysis centers and attracts patients from throughout Minnesota, the U.S. and the world. Innovative computer technology within the Gait Lab allows our providers to analyze how muscles, joints and nerves work together to make movement possible. The result is highly effective treatments and positive surgical outcomes, both short- and long-term.

How does a gait and motion analysis exam work? First, a physical therapist applies small reflective balls and sensors to a child’s body; a completely pain-free process. Special cameras track the movement of the reflectors as the child walks, recording when muscles are active and at rest. Instruments in the floor measure the force produced by the child’s muscles as he or she walks. The data we capture helps our providers identify movement problems, and create individualized treatment plans, for each patient.

To see gait and motion analysis in action, watch Ava’s video.

Besides being among the world’s busiest clinical motion analysis centers, the Gait Lab is extremely active in research. We’re a worldwide leader in researching 10-to-15-year outcomes of surgeries to treat cerebral palsy and our findings have been published in internationally renowned journals. If you’d like to meet James Gage, MD, the physician after which our Gait Lab is named, find it here.

The partnership of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals supports essential areas of fundraising need at Gillette, including long-term outcomes research conducted at the Gait Lab. Donate to help further fund research programs like this!