Motion Analysis Center

Children with certain neuromuscular and orthopedic conditions have difficulty controlling their muscles. The Motion Analysis Center at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital uses advanced technology to evaluate muscle, joint and nerve problems during the motion of walking.

What is Motion Analysis?

Three-dimensional motion analysis is a tool that, along with other tests, is used to determine the best treatment for walking problems by studying specific muscles and joints and determining the exact cause of a child's walking difficulty. The following will occur during an evaluation at our Motion Analysis Center:

  • Your child will be videotaped walking with and without braces/assistive devices, as appropriate.
  • The physical therapist will examine the patient's muscle strength and range of motion.
  • Reflective markers and surface electrode pads will be attached to the child's legs (causing no pain), and the child will walk across the floor while data is gathered.
  • The evaluation will last for approximately 1 to 3 hours.

Who Benefits from Motion Analysis?

Families turn to our pediatric rehabilitation specialists to help their children improve not only their walking ability, but also their quality of life. Doctors and therapists trust our skilled team to assess problems from conditions that include but are not limited to:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Spina bifida
  • Brain or spinal cord injuries
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Movement disorders

Referrals & Evaluations

Referrals for evaluations are made by physicians and are targeted to the patient's individual needs. Please contact us to discuss the age and height requirements for a child to qualify for a motion analysis evaluation. Also, the child must be able to walk on his/her own, with or without an assistive device.

Many insurance companies cover motion analysis testing. It is recommended that you confirm coverage with your insurance company prior to scheduling the evaluation to discuss coverage.

What Should the Child Bring or Wear?

You should bring any braces or assistive devices that your child uses to walk. Athletic shorts with an elastic waist (preferably biking shorts) or a bathing suit (two-piece only for girls) and a T-shirt must be worn to the appointment.

What Happens After the Session?

The collected data will be used to create a three-dimensional computer model of how the child walks. A pediatric orthopedic surgeon and a physical therapist will evaluate the model, along with other data, to determine the best treatment for the child.   Recommendations will be forwarded to the referring physician within 4-6 weeks.

For more information, call (813) 870-4242.

Learn more about our pediatric neuroscience and orthopedic services.