Motion analysis can create a three-dimensional picture that reveals every nuance of your child’s movement.
This advanced technology benefits children in several ways, including:
- Assessing children who experience abnormal movement patterns due to complex neuromuscular, congenital or acquired disorders
- Improving sports performance and preventing injuries for young athletes, using 3D images to evaluate their bodies in motion from the side, top and front at the same time
- Determining an appropriate plan for children scheduled for surgery or in need of further treatment to improve how they function
We use high-speed optical cameras, UV cameras, force plates and electromyography (EMG) to study your child’s unique way of moving in Indiana’s only comprehensive resource for motion analysis—Neurorehabilitation and Robotics at the Indiana University Health Neuroscience Center, affiliated with Riley at IU Health.
We start with a clinical exam that measures several factors in your child, including joint range of motion, joint contracture, muscle strength and tone, bone deformity and neurological assessment.
This data gives us a real-time, detailed look at any abnormalities in your child’s movement patterns. We can zoom in, slow the image, look at your child from different angles, compare foot pressure and ground forces, and study the way muscles activate—none of which can be observed objectively with the naked eye.
We see patients with a wide variety of conditions, including:
- Brain injuries
- Cerebral palsy
- Foot deformities
- Hip conditions
- Idiopathic toe-walking
- Joint conditions
- Spinal bifida
- Spinal cord injuries
- Sports injuries
Our pediatric motion analysis team includes biomechanists, physical therapists and pediatric orthopedic surgeons who work together to interpret the data and make treatment recommendations. Possible treatments may include medication, bracing, orthotics, physical therapy or surgery—all of which are planned in close collaboration by our multidisciplinary team.
Motion analysis serves a broad spectrum of children because it is useful for:
- Assessing opportunities to improving mobility
- Confirming readiness for activities after an injury
- Giving precise information about outcomes after treatment
- Assisting in recommendations for orthopedic surgical planning
We also use motion analysis to help student athletes recovering from a sports-related injury through our Return to Sport Motion Analysis Assessment, which is designed to:
- Identify abnormal patterns or compensation that need attention
- Determine necessary steps to correct any compensation
- Allow each athlete to return to his or her sport with confidence
- Provide recommendations to modify or improve training
Healthy athletes may also benefit from Injury Prevention Motion Analysis Screening to reduce their chances of injury.
What to Expect
What to Expect
On the day of motion analysis, children should come in comfortable, form-fitting clothing, such as a swimsuit for girls, boxer briefs for boys, or spandex for either. Parents and caregivers are required to stay with their children during motion analysis. Your presence may soothe and motivate your child as we work together, and you can provide information to make the assessment more complete.
Small reflective markers are placed on your child’s body and electromyography (EMG) sensors may also be placed on muscles of the lower extremities. This process can take 30 to 45 minutes.
If your child has a neuromuscular, acquired or congenital disorder, a motion analysis lasts two to three hours. Your child will walk around the room several times, allowing us to capture movement with the camera.
A motion analysis for athletes takes one to three hours, depending on the number of activities performed during the evaluation. Your child will walk across the room, run on a treadmill, complete movements related to their sport and other activities to capture movement on a 3D camera.
What to Bring
We encourage parents and caregivers to explain what will happen ahead so children feel at ease when they arrive for motion analysis. Here’s a partial list of what you can bring to your child’s appointment:
- Form-fitting clothing and/or shorts
- Braces/orthotics and the shoes your child wears over the braces/orthotics
- Any assistive device that your child might use (walker, crutches, braces, etc.)
- Toys or objects that might motivate your child to walk
You can also bring any forms (available below) you have completed to capture the history and ambulatory status of your child.
Sports Motion Analysis Instructions (Riley at IU Health): If your child is completing a motion analysis for athletics or sports training, this resource can help you prepare for the initial appointment.
Pediatric Motion Analysis Form (Riley at IU Health): If your child is a new patient with a health condition that affects his/her movement, you can complete these forms before your appointment and get information about what to wear and what to bring for motion analysis.
Key Points To Remember
Key Points To Remember
- Motion analysis uses advanced technology to create a three-dimensional picture of how your child moves.
- A pediatric motion analysis team includes biomechanists, physical therapists and pediatric orthopedic surgeons.
- Motion analysis can benefit children who have neuromuscular disorders as well as young athletes.
- After a motion analysis, your child’s care team can provide recommendations for physical therapy and other treatments, if needed.
Riley at IU Health uses evidence-based techniques informed by research in rehabilitation and biomechanics. Our dedication to professional growth and development brings the latest equipment and research to families who choose Riley at IU Health for their child’s healthcare.