Phases of Gait cycle

Phases of Gait cycle:

One gait cycle is completed from heel-strike till start of next heel-strike.

Two main phases:

  1. Stance phase:- -60% of the gait cycle
    -during this period, the foot is on the ground
    -body weight on the single leg
  2. Swing phase:- -40% of the gait cycle
    -the foot off the ground moving forward
    -the limb advancement
  • Step: the distance between the successive initial contact (heel-strike) of the opposite feet.
  • Stride:  the distance between any two successive points of initial contact(heel strike) of the same foot. [Stride length=2x Step length] in a normal Gait.
  • Walking Base/Stride Width: the side-to-side distance between the ‘line of step’ of the two feet.
  • Cadence: the number of steps per unit time. In a normal gait, Cadence≈100-115 steps/minute.
  • Comfortable Walking Speed: a speed with least energy consumption per unit distance. ~80 metre/minute in a normal gait.

Stance phase: further divided into-
1. Initial Contact (heel strike)- 1st contact of foot with ground
Muscles: Hip Extensors (stabilize hip); Eccentric contraction of Quadriceps & Tibialis anterior.

  1. Loading Response- initiation of double limb stance
    – follows initial contact until elevation of opposite limb
    -the weight transferred onto the referenced leg
    – important for weight-bearing, shock-absorption & forward progression.
    Muscles: Ankle dorsiflexors (Tibialis anterior)- eccentric contraction to control plantar flexion moment;
    Qudriceps contraction for kee stabilization & to counteract the flexion moment (about the knee).
  2.  Mid stance- initiation of single limb support
    – alignment and balancing of body weight on the reference foot
                     -Muscles: Contraction of Hip extensors & Quadriceps
  3. Terminal stance– single limb support
    – the heel of reference foot rises while the toes is still in contact with the ground until the opposite heel touches the ground
    Muscles: Tibialis posterior, Toes flexors.
  4. Pre-swing- just before the ‘Swing phase’, 2nd double limb support
    – from initial contact of opposite foot to just prior to elevation of the reference foot
    Muscles: Hip flexors



Swing phase: Initial swing, Mid-swing, Terminal swing.
1. Initial swing (Toe-off)- initiation of single limb support for opposite limb
– from elevation of the reference limb to the point of maximal knee flexion
Muscles: concentric contraction of hip flexors →advancement of the swinging limb (the reference leg).

  1. Mid-swing- from the knee flexion to the point of vertical tibia (foot clearance).
    Muscle: Contraction of Ankle dorsiflexors →for foot clearance.
  2. Terminal Swing: – after ‘mid-swing’ just prior to ‘initial contact’
    – From Tibia-vertical to just before heel-strike.
    Muscles: Hamstrings contraction