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Title: Whittle's Gait Analysis, 5th Edition

Editors: David Levine, PT, PhD, DPT, OCS; Jim Richards, BEng, MSc, PhD; Michael W. Whittle; BSc, MSc, MB, BS, PhD
Publisher: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2012; 192 pages
Reviewed by: Allison Cerutti McGinnis, MPO, CO

Gait analysis is an essential component of orthotic and prosthetic patient care. The ability to carefully and critically assess a patient's gait pattern is vital to clinical decision-making — from initial evaluation to follow up and adjustments. As such, Whittle's Gait Analysis, 5th Edition is an excellent resource for any student or clinician who requires a working knowledge of gait analysis for making decisions related to patient care.

The previous four editions of this text, titled Gait Analysis: an introduction, were edited by Michael Whittle. For the fifth edition, new editors Davide Levine and Jim Richards worked closely with Michael Whittle to update the text and add new content, including gait assessment of neurological and musculoskeletal conditions and a brief section on prosthetics and orthotics. The editors' intent is to provide "a text which does not require a high level of academic learning to be understood, but yet gives a good grounding in the science and application of gait analysis." The targeted audience includes physicians, therapists, prosthetists, orthotists, podiatrists, and anyone else interested in learning more about gait.

The first three chapters provide a foundation for understanding and implementing gait analysis. Chapter one provides a basic overview of anatomy, physiology, motor control, and biomechanics pertinent to gait analysis. Chapter two describes normal gait, including thorough explanations of the events occurring within each phase of the gait cycle. In the third chapter, the editors discuss pathological gait patterns; this chapter describes common gait abnormalities and the functions of various assistive devices, ending with a discussion of gait when using assistive devices and when on a treadmill. Chapters four and five briefly describe different methods of gait analysis; e.g., observational, video recording, camera-based motion analysis, accelerometers, gyroscopes, and pressure sensors, and then discuss the clinical applications of these methods in practice and research.

The remaining chapters of the text delve into specific conditions and key characteristics of their respective gait patterns. Chapter six focuses on persons with neurological disorders, specifically cerebral palsy, stroke, Parkinson's, and muscular dystrophy. Despite the rather brief mention of orthotic treatment, these four diagnoses are commonly seen in orthotic practice. The seventh and final chapter is titled "Gait Analysis in Musculoskeletal Conditions, Prosthetics and Orthotics." As the title indicates, this chapter most directly discusses the relationship between orthotics and prosthetics practice and gait analysis. First, total hip replacement and knee osteoarthritis are described, focusing on the effects these conditions have on gait. Then the text details the typical gait characteristics of persons with lower-limb amputation, drawing comparisons between their temporal-spatial, kinematic, and kinetic data and data from able-bodied persons.

Summary: The fifth edition of Whittle's Gait Analysis is concise enough for the student or busy practitioner, yet in-depth enough to remain a valuable reference for the well-seasoned clinician. For the student, this text may serve as a thorough introduction to the terminology and key concepts needed to analyze gait. For the entry-level clinician, Whittle's can serve as a reference while developing one's "clinical eye" for observational gait analysis and learning which elements of a patient's gait to address with an orthosis or prosthesis. For the well-seasoned clinician, this book can be a refresher course and a guide when considering the addition of more sophisticated gait analysis methods to one's practice.

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