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The status of gait assessment among physiotherapists in the United Kingdom1

  • Brigitte Toro
    Affiliations
    Directorate of Physiotherapy, Physiotherapy, University of Salford, Salford, England UK

    Centre for Rehabilitation and Human Performance Research, Prosthetics and Orthotics, University of Salford, Salford, England UK
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  • Chris J Nester
    Correspondence
    Reprint requests to Christopher Nester, PhD, Centre for Rehabilitation and Human Performance Research, University of Salford, Brian Blatchford Bldg, Salford M6 6PU, England UK
    Affiliations
    Centre for Rehabilitation and Human Performance Research, Prosthetics and Orthotics, University of Salford, Salford, England UK
    Search for articles by this author
  • Pauline C Farren
    Affiliations
    Directorate of Physiotherapy, Physiotherapy, University of Salford, Salford, England UK

    Centre for Rehabilitation and Human Performance Research, Prosthetics and Orthotics, University of Salford, Salford, England UK
    Search for articles by this author

      Abstract

      Toro B, Nester CJ, Farren PC. The status of gait assessment among physiotherapists in the United Kingdom. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2003;84:1878–84.

      Objectives

      To evaluate how physiotherapists are trained in and use clinically orientated gait assessment tools and instrumented gait analysis, and to identify if a need exists for a standardized methology.

      Design

      Survey.

      Setting

      UK National Health Service.

      Participants

      Physiotherapists working with a variety of patient groups in 210 randomly selected Health Care Trusts.

      Interventions

      Not applicable.

      Main outcome measures

      Amount of gait assessment training, frequency of gait laboratory use, types and frequency of standardized gait assessment tools used, and expressed need for a gait assessment tool in clinical practice.

      Results

      A total of 1826 (43.5%) physiotherapists responded. Management of abnormal gait constituted a major aspect of physiotherapy practice; yet, there was no systematic use of standardized gait assessment tools. Gait video images were typically collected and analyzed without the use of standardized protocols. Only 23.1% of all respondents had a patient assessed in a gait laboratory. Clinicians indicated that they need training in gait assessment (66.4%) and desire guidance at a national level. Exactly 91.8% of physiotherapists requested a new gait assessment tool that can be used easily and quickly within a busy schedule without compromising reliability and validity.

      Conclusions

      Gait assessment plays a pivotal role for physiotherapists managing gait problems. The challenge for developers of gait assessment tools is to find a balance between the practicalities of use and scientific merit.

      Keywords

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      Further reading

        • Keenan A.M.
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        Video assessment of rearfoot movements during walking.
        Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1996; 77: 651-655

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