Division of Physiotherapy

FNB-3D Movement Analysis Laboratory - FAQ


What is biomechanics?
The study of forces and their effects on living systems. Although the study of biomechanics includes the animal and plant kingdoms, our focus is certainly on human biomechanics.

What is motion analysis?
This dynamic technique involves the analysis of the kinetic (forces and moments) and kinematic (joint angles and temporal factors such as step length) factors relating to human movement. This serves to aid clinicians in diagnosing and identifying functional and performance related problems.

What is the purpose of a biomechanical assessment?
The purpose a biomechanical assessment is to identify biomechanical risk factors and diagnose movement abnormalities to prevent injury and inform the most appropriate clinical management such as surgery or rehabilitation for an individual.

How does motion analysis serve its purpose?
Put simply, it is achieved by improving technique. This requires knowledge on the mechanical systems required to perform the task efficiently and the ability to identify inefficient movement strategies. Biomechanists (health professionals with knowledge of biomechanics) are therefore also occupied by the modification and development of new equipment to improve movement tasks e.g. swim suites, golf clubs, bicycle frames, longer broom handles or vacuum cleaners etc. In order to make these improvements, one needs to be able to be able to analyze human movements in great detail.

Who should have motion analysis?
Movement dysfunctions may develop after an acute episode or over a prolonged period of time. In the acute scenario, individuals typically present to clinical specialists for diagnosis and injury management. However, in the case of slow, insidious onset of movement disorders, individuals are unaware of how these injuries have developed. In this scenario, detailed biomechanical analysis comes into its own. Vicon motion analysis is able to objectively measure joint segment movement in minutia, allowing the clinician to identify biomechanical risk factors that would go unnoticed by the human eye.

Motion analysis may be useful for:

  • Individuals (children and adults) with any type of movement disorder
  • Individuals who suffer from persistent muscle or joint pain who suspect that the pain may be related to biomechanical problems
  • Individuals who require an objective, detailed analysis of movement
  • Individuals who would like to enhance their performance
  • Individuals without pain or movement related disorders who would like to have an electronic, objective record of their movement patterns (for follow-up purposes later in life)
  • Individuals who require screening for biomechanical risk factors to prevent potential injuries

What is the value of motion analysis and which movements can be analysed?
An individual obtains an objective, accurate and valid record of his/her functional performance. Any functional movement such as walking (gait), running etc, can be analysed.

Who can refer patients to us?
Potential clients do not require a referral.
Any professional (health, coach, attorney, etc) can refer patients.

How is the motion analysis conducted and what should one wear?
You may be required to wear a running shorts or exercise tights. Reflective markers will be placed on anatomical (bony) landmarks. Thereafter, you will be asked to perform the appropriate functional movement while the motion analysis system records the biomechanical data. None of the procedures are painful or invasive

What does the report entail?
Once the movement has been captured, at least 4 members of our team collectively discuss and interpret the data to compile a detailed, interactive report which will include: a summary of the main movement abnormalities (if any present), graphs to illustrate the quality of the movement and deviations from normal as well as 3D animated videos to describe each graph.