Motion and Sports Analysis Lab

Specialists at the John C. Wilson Jr. Motion and Sports Analysis Lab have been helping children with orthopaedic and neuromuscular problems since 1992. Doctors at the Children’s Orthopaedic Center rely on information from the lab to ensure the best treatment outcomes for your child. We also help young athletes recover from and prevent sports injuries.


Motion and Sports Analysis Lab: Why Choose Us

Our lab has the most advanced technology to analyze your child in action. Our experts use this information to customize a treatment plan specific to your child’s unique movement and orthopaedic issues. Lab offerings include:

  • Accredited program: We were the first gait lab in California to receive full accreditation from the Commission for Motion Laboratory Accreditation. This accreditation acknowledges the outstanding care provided at our lab and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Fewer than 20 gait labs nationwide can claim this distinction.
  • Depth of experience: Our program is among the country’s busiest and most experienced. We evaluate more than 400 children every year. An additional 100 children participate in clinical research conducted at our lab. This research helps us develop and improve treatments that benefit your child.
  • Dedicated team: Your child receives care from specialists in orthopaedics, neurology, physical therapy, biomedical engineering and sports medicine (if appropriate). Meet our team.


FAQs About the Motion and Sports Analysis Lab

Not sure what motion analysis is or how it benefits your child? We have answers.

What is gait or movement analysis?

A clinical gait analysis gives our team a close-up look at factors that affect your child’s gait (how your child walks and moves). For children with neuromuscular and orthopaedic conditions, the Motion Lab team and doctors analyze movements to plan surgical procedures or treatments that will give your child the most benefits. After surgery, we reevaluate your child’s gait to gauge outcomes and make treatment corrections, as needed.

For young athletes, we evaluate movements like, running and jumping. Using this information, our sports medicine specialists tailor exercise programs and suggest corrections to help athletes avoid injury or prevent reinjury.

What should my family expect at the Motion and Sports Analysis Lab?

Your child should wear clothing that’s comfortable to move in. If needed, your child can use assistive devices or orthotics. The lab process can take up to three hours. During this time, we:

  • Tape sensors on your child’s pelvis, hips, knees, ankles, spine and other key areas to precisely measure joint movements.
  • Use a 10-camera motion-capture system to get 3D images of your child in action. This system is similar to the ones that motion picture and video gaming industries use to create animated characters.
  • Use sensors embedded in our custom-made lab floor to measure motion kinetics (the amount of force placed on joints when your child walks, runs, or jumps).
  • Use dynamic electromyography (EMG) when needed to see which muscles engage as your child moves.
  • Measure your child’s stride characteristics, such as walking speed, cadence (steps per minute), stride length and symmetry (similarity between the left and right sides).

How does the gait lab help children with orthopaedic and neuromuscular conditions?

We evaluate hundreds of children with orthopaedic and neuromuscular conditions every year. Your child benefits from:

  • Fewer surgeries: Our orthopaedic surgeons refer to lab findings when developing surgical plans. Nearly 90% of the time, these findings result in surgery changes that allow us to address multiple movement problems in one procedure. As a result, we reduce the chances of your child needing additional corrective surgeries by almost 70%.
  • Improved walking ability and function: Most children we treat who have orthopaedic neuromuscular conditions show a substantial improvement in walking ability after surgery.
  • Postsurgical care: A follow-up lab analysis helps us see whether your child could benefit from additional corrective measures. For example, we might suggest physical therapy or new or different medical devices.

How does the gait lab help young athletes?

More than 200 teen and young adult athletes use our lab annually through our Sports Medicine Program. We also have the West Coast’s first mobile gait lab. We bring this lab directly to schools and leagues to provide convenient, on-site 3D sports analysis screenings.

Lab information helps to:

  • Identify motions that increase injury risk so athletes can modify movements and prevent injuries or reinjuries
  • Ensure the most effective sports injury treatments
  • Gauge treatment progress and success
  • Safely return athletes to sports


Contact Us

A referral from your child’s physician is needed to be scheduled for a test in the Motion and Sports Analysis Laboratory at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. To schedule an appointment, call 323-361-4120.