Your stride and gait don't always indicate bad things. A study conducted in Belgium and Scotland, reported in the September, 2008, Journal of Sexual Medicine, found that a woman's walk can reveal her orgasmic ability. Women who have a fluid, energetic stride seem to be more likely to easily and often have vaginal orgasms, researchers said. They compared the gaits of women known to be orgasmic (defined as by penile intercourse, not direct clitoral stimulation) with those who were not.
What's the connection? The theory is that orgasms contribute to muscles that are neither flaccid nor locked. Result: a freer, easier stride, researchers found, as well as greater sexual confidence and better self-esteem.
When the heel hits the ground at the beginning of a stride, the knee should be straight. If it's not, that can indicate a range-of-motion problem in which something is impairing the ability of the knee joint to move appropriately within the kneecap. "Degenerative changes in the knee sometimes need to be addressed by manual therapy to stretch out the tightness and improve that range of motion," Bailey says.
A similar cause of a short stride is lacking extension, or good range of motion, in the hip. By taking shorter steps, the walker doesn't have to extend as far. "Unfortunately, that compensation puts more stress on the back," Bailey says. "In older people, a big issue in the back is having enough space for the joints and nerves as it is. When you don't have a lot of hip extension, there's not a lot of room to play with, and it can cause back pain and neural issues, such as drop foot."
Walking clue #6: Dropping the pelvis or shoulder to one side
May reveal: A back problem
Muscles called the abductors on the outside of the hips work to keep the pelvis level with each step we take. So while we're lifting one leg and swinging it forward, and standing on the other, the abductors keep the body even -- unless those muscles aren't working properly, Bailey says.
What happens then is that the body compensates. In a common walking pattern known as the Trelendenberg gait, as the heel strikes the ground on the unaffected side, the pelvis drops on that side to try to reduce the amount of force the muscle has to produce on the other side. Sometimes the compensating is so pronounced that the whole shoulder dips as well.
The ultimate cause of the weak abductors is often a back problem, Bailey says.