Walking is a cyclic process; therefore, the relevant information can be captured during one complete gait cycle, which is the time between successive foot contacts of the same limb.
A gait cycle is split into two main phases, stance and swing, with one complete gait cycle including both a stance and swing phase. The stance phase is the period where the foot is in contact with the ground and equates to 60% of the cycle when walking. The swing phase makes up the remaining 40%. During walking there is a period double stance, where both feet are in contact with the ground.
The swing and stance phases of the gait cycle can be further further divided.
- Heel strike: being the point when the heel hits the floor
- Foot flat: being the point where the whole foot comes into contact with the floor
- Mid-stance: where we are transferring weight from the back to the front of our feet
- Toe-off: being where we are pushing off with the toes to propel us forward
- Acceleration: the period from toe-off to maximum knee flexion in order for the foot to clear the ground
- Mid-swing: the period between maximum knee flexion and the forward movement of the tibia to a vertical position
- Deceleration: the end of the swing phase before heel strike
When running, a higher proportion of the cycle is swing phase as the foot is in contact with the ground for a shorter period. Because of this there is now no double stance phase, and instead there is a point where neither foot is in contact with the ground, this is called the flight phase.
As running speed increases, stance phase becomes shorter and shorter.
Corrections to your Gait Cycle
If it is found that there is an abnormality of your gait cycle, this can usually be corrected with a change in footwear and the use of custom-made orthotics (insoles for shoes).
Make an appointment, come to Special Footwear in London’s west-end and have a FREE consultation. We will explain all the options you have available to treat your condition.