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Motion analysis center

Motion analysis center

The motion analysis center (MAC) serves to objectively evaluate human motions, in particular gait. As the goal of many orthopaedic, rehabilitation and medical treatments is to improve mobility, a MAC is a key component of advanced pediatric orthopaedic clinical care and research.

The motion analysis center located at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Canada is a new service and research tool. The MAC is an essential state-of-the-art tool that will bring the quality of physical performance evaluation at Shiners Hospitals for Children — Canada to a new level. The need for such analyses can arise at diagnosis or during follow-up of a patient after an intervention, in order to document the effect of a treatment. Without a MAC, caregivers can assess gait only subjectively. The MAC will bring significant improvements in the quality of clinical care and education at the Canada Shriners Hospital and will play a central role in clinical research projects.

The MAC at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Canada is initially expected to evaluate 100 to 150 children per year for full analysis, as well as for partial analysis evaluations.

Cutting-edge technology to facilitate objective clinical decision making

Walking is complex. Children and adolescents with walking difficulties often have different ways of coordinating their movements and adapting to their walking limitations. Clinical motion analysis at the Canada Shriners Hospital is used to help understand complex neuromuscular, acquired or congenital disorders that affect gait. It also allows a better understanding of how children use their walking aids/wheelchair and how we can improve their ability in order to reduce pain or discomfort.

As of 2016, the motion analysis center at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Canada will be one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in the country. At this state-of-the-art facility, patients’ movement patterns are carefully measured and analyzed with advanced technology and expertise. Using this technology, we can accurately measure and describe the walking patterns of children and adolescents, ages 5 to 21, with complex motion problems resulting from:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Club feet
  • Length discrepancy or bony misalignment
  • Orthopaedic, neurologic and genetic disorders
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta
  • Spina bifida

Motion analysis testing allows surgeons to evaluate problems at all joints simultaneously, which enables them to perform surgical correction of all problems in a single surgical session. It also allows an assessment of the effectiveness of a surgical or physical therapy intervention. Ultimately, this leads to improved quality of life for children.

A multidisciplinary team of experts

Results of the testing are reviewed by a multidisciplinary team of experts, including an orthopaedic surgeon, researchers, kinesiologist, biomechanical engineer, physical therapist and computer technician.

State-of the-art technology

  • Specialized cameras capture the movements of markers attached to the feet, legs and trunk.
  • Sensors placed on the skin monitor how the muscles are working.
  • Platforms recessed into the floor measure forces acting on the body as the patient walks.
  • Sensors placed under the feet record pressures under different parts of the foot during walking.
  • High definition video cameras record images of how the patient is walking.
  • Specialized equipment measures the energy cost of walking.


Shriners Motion Analysis Network (SMACnet) is a group of physicians, therapists, engineers, kinesiologists and technicians from 13 Shriners Hospitals’ MACs, who work together with the goal of enhancing the clinical, research and educational activities in MACs to ultimately benefit children with motion disorders. Each MAC consists of quantitative assessment tools and experts on the leading edge of assessing human movement to provide assistance in treatment decision making and measuring the outcomes of orthopaedic interventions. Each MAC sees hundreds of patients per year and each patient assessment includes the collection, organization and storage of large volumes of data.

All 13 MACs in the Shriners Hospitals for Children health care system are working to establish a consolidated patient database, of which the Canada Shriners Hospital will be an active participant. This will be one of the largest MAC patient databases, from which all Shriners Hospitals for Children will be able to derive data to assist patients and clinicians, to improve data quality and quantity, as well as to facilitate information sharing.

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