Setting Up Your Treadmill For Great Results
Treadmills and DV camcorders are the standard tools for observational gait analysis. The ability to observe the foot’s signature using slow motion software has aided accurate prescription of orthotic’s and footwear for the last 10 years etc. However, it is how the analysis is conducted that really defines the competency level of your clinic or lab.
Below we have collated crucial information to help you consider how to set up your treadmill.
Solid base of support
If your treadmill is set-up on a joist supported floor we recommend that use a solid sheet of MDF (18mm min) to distribute the weight across a larger area (and more joists). Ensure that the sheet cover all four (or more) feet and is screwed down solidly. Your objective is to replicate natural gait behaviour, this is impossible if your treadmill is bouncing around.
If you are using a slat treadmill like Sprintex it is important that the running surface is flat. Use a spirit level to ensure that both longitudinal and lateral aspects are level. Most treadmills come with adjustable feet.
Standard treadmills that use a belt drawn over orthopaedic bed, unfortunately these have to be set at a slight angle of 2 to 5 degrees. This is to replicate a more natural gait as the strength of the belt pulls the feet beneath the body rather than the feet pulling the body over the foot. Note:
If you use this standard please ensure that your camera is set at the same angle as the running surface of the treadmill.
It is only when the treadmill has been set-up accurately that you can rely and measure the images recorded.