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Motion analysis center

Motion analysis center

The high-tech motion analysis conducted in the motion analysis center (MAC) is integral to the complex, comprehensive care provided by Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California.

Who is tested?

Children with neurological disorders, limb differences and injuries that cause them to walk or use their arms differently, come to the MAC so their doctors can better understand their motion and muscle activity. The most common diagnoses treated in the MAC include cerebral palsy, spina bifida, clubfoot, limb differences and brachial plexus birth palsy.

The results provided by the center are used to optimize therapy, surgical plans and orthotic interventions. Tests conducted in the center also are used to evaluate surgical outcomes. For instance, after surgery on the legs, children return for a follow-up study that can be used to guide recommendations on therapy and bracing.

Children sometimes are analyzed in the center as part of a research study. The results of these studies are used to improve treatment.

Motion analysis center leadership

Jon Davids, M.D., Medical Director and Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon
Anita Bagley, Ph.D., MPH, Co-Director and Biomechanical Engineer

Technology and testing

The MAC uses a variety of measurement systems to analyze motion. The type of equipment used during each analysis session depends on the clinical question from the referring physician. Using high-speed cameras, reflective markers and computers, the motion analysis team can:

  • Measure how a child moves in three-dimension (3-D) using technology from the video game and motion picture industries
  • Measure how much force is going through a child’s joints while walking
  • Calculate how fast a child walks, the number of steps taken per minute, the length of steps and the symmetry of the right compared to the left steps
  • Measure the progression of foot pressures during the walking cycle
  • Record how muscles work during an activity
  • Measure muscle strength