What’s in a Walk?


From the time you take your first steps to your golden years, your gait – the way you walk – can actually say a lot about your feet. Throughout our lives, we use our feet for so many different things, to hike, climb, hop, jump, kick a ball, skip, dance, prance, march, strut, tiptoe to reach high areas, and so much more. Trust us when we say that here at Westfield Foot and Ankle, LLC, we know how important feet are! We made them our life’s work, after all.

The mechanics of walking

One of the most important things your feet do is walking. The way you walk is called your gait. The gait is made up of two pieces that meld together to make a fluid motion. Here are the parts of the gait:

  • The Stance – When your feet are planted on the ground, that is called your stance. In a walk, your heel strikes the ground first. Next, it rotates and pushes forward, causing the toes and forefoot to hit the ground next. Our stance is what provides balance and stability.
  • The Swing – When your foot is in motion in the air it’s called your swing. It’s the moment your foot is not touching the ground at all and is actively moving forward. This is the action that propels us to where we’re going and puts us back into our stable and balanced stance.

Working together, the stance and swing make up your gait. Your joints, muscles, and tendons harmoniously work together in a normal gait.

What can my gait say about foot health?

If your gait is slightly off, or if you have trouble walking, it could be due to an underlying issue. Podiatrists will often observe the way you walk and ask questions to determine if you have one of the following issues that can throw off your gait:

An abnormal gait could also be caused by a serious condition like a brain tumor or spinal cord compression, so it’s important to call your podiatrist today if you notice issues with walking or balance.

If you have a sudden change in your gait or have trouble walking, Dr. David R. Sullivan here at Westfield Foot and Ankle, LLC, is here for you. He utilizes state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques and cutting-edge technologies to treat any foot or ankle woes. To schedule an appointment, contact us today. You can call our conveniently located Westfield, IN office at 317-896-6655.