Kinesiology, as well as motion picture photography of human subjects at rest and in motion, is required for a detailed study and application of the knowledge of human gait. For an average clinician these studies are neither easily available nor understandable. With these facts in mind this chapter is entirely devoted to “Human Gait” as a clinician should know it.
Gait is defined as the rhythmic movements of the joints of the lower extremity, resulting in forward propagation of the body. Thus it differs from spot march - as in exercises - where rhythm is essential, but there is no forward propagation.
Human gait is a biped gait whereas animal gait is quadruped . In quadrupeds, the hind limbs are used for propulsion and the fore limbs are meant for restriction. The extension of the hind limbs imparts momentum and the fore limbs restrict this momentum when they touch the ground. In human beings, each leg performs these functions alternately. Thus human gait may be described as Alternate Bipedalism. It is essentially a “Heel-Toe” gait, with the heel touching the ground first, followed by the toes, and, again, the heel leaving the ground before the toes.