Estelle Humphris, founder of The Gait Movement, finished her Podiatry degree in 2016. When she graduated, she felt that gait analysis wasn’t her strong suit. She asked her Senior Mentors for help on this, and their responses were to “just watch people walk; go to your local shopping mall and just sit and watch. And make sure you watch every client you have in clinic walk down the hallway. It just comes with experience.”.
Estelle was not satisfied with this response and did not understand how this could possibly help, as she had been “just watching” people walk for two years now at uni, on placements, and at her job at a shoe store. She could identify some things, such as an early heel lift or an abductory twist, but had no idea WHY or HOW those gait patterns occur and staring at someone with this gait pattern wasn’t helping to gain any answers.
Estelle made it her mission to improve her gait analysis skills and asking for help in a different way. She started filming every single biomechanical client she had. When there was a tricky case, she would share the video with her Senior Podiatrist at the time, and ask what he was seeing. They would slow the video down and discuss each segment of movement and how this could be loading various anatomical structures. Estelle began to stock pile what she’d learnt from these discussions in her head. When another clinical case came along, she would film their gait, slow the video down herself and analyse if she could pick up on any of the previous things she had learnt from discussions with her Senior Podiatrist. She gradually got better and better…
But she always thought that there was clearly a gap in the way gait analysis was taught. If she had felt this level of incompetence as a new grad, surely others must too. And she thought that although the skills do improve with experience, there must be away to help fast track these skills. She decided to create platform of gait analysis tutorials, breaking gait patterns and muscle function down, explaining the WHY and the HOW they occur in a methodical way that is less overwhelming to take in and apply. A resource that herself and others can refer back to when they need to. A resource that Senior Mentors could refer their juniors too when they say “I need some help improving my gait analysis skills”. After-all the task of teaching someone gait analysis is so broad and huge – where would you even start as a Senior Mentor with your own clinical work and responsibilities to do?
And so The Gait Movement was born!
Estelle intends to deliver some modules herself, sharing the knowledge she has learnt on this journey; but also getting external presenters with significant clinical experience, who share the same values as her in helping younger clinicians learn, and to pass down their “words of wisdom” and “tips and tricks” that they have developed over the years.
When she met her partner, Max Martin – a very experienced Exercise Physiologist, he loved her concept, motives and vision for The Gait Movement and jumped onboard helping to create content. Together they have adapted some of Max’s movement analysis techniques to create a Framework to guide young clinicians to work through their gait analysis and biomechanical assessment in a methodical and efficient manner. The Framework aims to refine your assessments and utilise your gait observations to identify what further functional tests are necessary and therefore eliminate many unnecessary tests. You can learn how to apply the Framework in our Foundations Course.
Get to know more about Estelle and her journey in the video below, of her guest appearance on the Podiatry Legends Podcast. If you prefer audio you can download the podcast on any podcast streaming apps.