Motion Laboratory

​Street address
New Children's Hospital
Stenbäckinkatu 9, Helsinki
Main Entrance, K floor

Mailing address
PO Box 347
00029 HUS

Contact information

Tuula Niemelä, Physiotherapist, 050 428 6363,
Essi Marttinen Rossi, Physiotherapist, 050 428 6612,

The Motion Laboratory performs gait analysis utilizing state of the art 3D movement analysis. We are also able to analyze and assess muscle activity, strength and range of motion, balance issues, and foot function. Analysis of gait problems can be performed for children over the age of 5 who are able to move either independently or with the help of assistive devices.

The Motion Laboratory in the New Children's Hospital is unique as it is the only unit in Finland performing clinical 3D gait analysis. We serve around 100 patients every year. Around 85% of the patients analyzed in the motion laboratory have cerebral palsy. Our patients may also have meningomyelocele, polyneuropathy, spastic paraplegia, toe walking, clumsiness, scoliosis, or some other neuro-orthopedic diagnosis.

Analysis in the motion laboratory requires a doctor’s referral.

Gait analysis

The core task of the Motion Laboratory is to produce 3D gait analysis which is then used in the treatment planning and follow-up monitoring of patients with neuro-orthopedic diagnoses. 3D gait analysis assesses extrinsic forces affecting the body, range of motion in joints, and muscle function during walking. By receiving detailed and objective information from gait analysis, we are able to avoid erroneous assessments when planning surgical treatment and orthoses, for example.

Gait analysis benefits children with gait problems who either move independently or with the help of assistive devices. Through gait analysis, we are able to objectively measure movement paths and muscle function while walking, and we are able, for example, to predict the effectiveness of orthopedic surgeries and suitability of any orthoses. While performing gait analysis, we run tests that measure muscle strength, spasticity, range of motion in the joints, balance, and foot function.

The Motion Laboratory uses an optical camera system for gait capture  The testing and all of its preparations take around 2 to 3 hours.. The patient is barefoot while the gait capture is active and may also use orthoses.  Children coming in for gait analysis must be able to walk around six meters continuously either with or without assistive devices. 

You can watch a video about how gait analysis is conducted (in Finnish).
Tests to measure muscle function, strength, and range of motion

Muscle weakness and spasticity often accompany physical disabilities and may hinder walking. Surface electromyography (EMG) can be utilized to assess muscle activity during walking.  In children with physical disabilities, muscle strength development is often weak relative to their growth and should be monitored regularly.  Clinical testing can provide more information about the patient’s muscle strength, spasticity, and range of motion in the joints. Additionally, we can use a muscle testing chair to provide numerical information about the patient’s muscle strength.   
Assessing balance and foot function

We are able to carry out balance testing to assess balance control while the patient is standing upright. The test is carried out by using pressure plates to measure body sway in various standing poses. With the test, we can assess what the patient’s starting level for balance control is currently, and what the effect of different treatments (e.g. treatment for spasticity or a rehabilitation intervention) may be for their balance control. The pressure plate is able to precisely measure pressure distribution in the sole. This enables us to assess foot function both while the patient is standing and while they are walking.

Interpreting results

After the patient has undergone the test, a computed analysis will be performed and its data combined with the clinical test results. A multi-professional team will interpret the results, create a report, and possibly give their recommendation for treatment. You will have an opportunity to go over the results in the unit responsible for the child’s care.  


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