Accurate gait assessment can obviously play a key role in the diagnostic workup. Accordingly, a gait assessment device that reportedly observes more than 20 times the images per second than the human eye could provide considerable diagnostic value.
The Footmaxx™ Metascan System mat goes above and beyond traditional gait analysis devices, according to the manufacturer Footmaxx. Not only can the mat assess bilateral pressure distribution during a static stance, the company says it also captures dynamic function when a patient is walking or running. One can also use the Metascan System mat to obtain a postural scan to observe the patient’s postural movement over time.
In addition to scanning patient gait, the Metascan mat creates a Dynamic Gait and Pressure Analysis Report. According to the company, the report contains 2D and 3D color graphics and images measuring kinetic pressure, gait abnormalities and the vertical load in the most important segments of the foot (lateral heel, medial heel, five metatarsal heads and the hallux).
How Accurate Is The Metascan?
The fact that the Metascan mat incorporates three types of scans (dynamic, static and postural) is a unique trait, according to Kerry Zang, DPM, FACFAS. Dr. Zang prefers this device over other gait analyzing technologies because the Metascan mat captures the entire stance phase of gait rather than simply a static stance.
“I use the scan to objectively show patients where abnormalities exist and I use it preoperatively as well as postoperatively to show the change in the gait cycle,” explains Dr. Zang. “I have also incorporated it as part of my new patient evaluation as the information is invaluable in helping me to formulate an appropriate treatment plan.”
In regard to its efficacy in diagnosing patient gait abnormalities, Dr. Zang notes the Metascan mat’s accuracy in assessing certain foot traits.
“(The Metascan mat) is most accurate in verifying whether the patient has a rigid or flexible gait cycle and whether the posterior crural muscle group is contracted, which also plays a role in assessing patients from a biomechanical point of view,” according to Dr. Zang.
Larry Kosova, DPM, FACFAS, has used the Footmaxx Metascan System mat for over a decade. He says the “software keeps improving and the accuracy is very good.” Dr. Kosova says the technology can be a helpful adjunct to the clinical exam.
“Sometimes, something that is not so obvious will be found on the scan that I missed or did not think about during my clinical exam,“ notes Dr. Kosova, who is in private practice in Naperville, Ill. “This is when the software is truly beneficial.”
A Useful Tool For Patient Education
Drs. Kosova and Zang say the mat has also become a useful tool in terms of patient education.
“This provides a visual, objective piece of information that patients can clearly see and understand as part of the discussion regarding their biomechanical imbalances,” adds Dr. Zang, the Podiatric Medical Director of the Arizona Institute of Footcare Physicians.
“Patients love technology. I can simply show the patients the scan, if I choose to, and it is very apparent to them what we are trying to treat,” notes Dr. Kosova. “The scans are very easy to read and understand.”