What You Need to Know About the Phases of Gait: The Stance Phase

In the field of human performance, paying attention to gait is key. Let’s start at the beginning, with the stance phase.

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When studying human performance, it’s important to start with the building blocks of movement: the phases of gait.

As a biomechanics professional, physiotherapist or pediorthic practitioner, whether you’re focused on sports medicine or clinical practice, paying attention to the way humans move matters. The average American takes 3.5 thousand steps each day, and the United States records upwards of eight million sports and recreational injuries every year. We can reduce this number by working diligently in our practices to improve the way patients walk and run; in other words, we can help them with their gait.

By understanding the gait pattern and learning what goes into each phase, starting with the stance phase, biomechanics professionals, physiotherapists or pediorthic practitioners can build treatment or training plans that optimize movement—and therefore performance or quality of life—for every single one of their clients.

analyzing gait cycle phases


Phases of Gait: Stance Phase

The average patient (and even doctor) tends to think that human movement is simple. That’s logical, given that the act of taking a step seems to be merely moving one’s foot forward. In reality, the biomechanics of the human step—known as gait—are quite complex. Gait begins with the stance phase, which includes four main processes: 1) the loading response, 2) midstance, 3) terminal stance and 4) pre swing. The step itself, from the time one heel strikes to the time the next makes contact, is not simple at all.

During the loading response, the foot makes initial contact with the ground—typically heel first, though this can reveal gait issues in itself—while the alternate leg poised to swing next remains on the ground. In midstance, the body’s center of gravity is directly over the moving foot, before transferring to the supporting foot in the terminal stance, as the heel makes its way off the ground and into pre swing.

phases of gait stance phase

Approximately 60 percent of the full gait cycle is spent in the stance phase—the period of the cycle where double limb support is fully on the ground and weight bearing. During the stance phase, the body is preparing to swing the leg in order to take a step, which is why it’s so essential to understand.

Stance Phase: Loading Response

The stance phase begins with the loading response, which takes between zero and 10 percent of the cycle itself. The tibia bone rotates before the femur, which makes room for knee flexion. Loading response takes place while both limbs are on the ground, leading into the next segment of the phase, where body weight is transferred and the opposite leg is elevated.


Stance Phase: Midstance and Terminal Stance

The loading response of the stance phase feeds into midstance and then into terminal stance, taking 10 to 50 percent of the cycle in itself. The tibia rotation allows the knee to extend, the tibia-fibula to rotate the ankle joint and then the subtalar joint to supinate. The leg rotates externally around the line of progress. The midstance segment shows elevation of one limb, and the terminal stance continues until the opposite heel finally reaches the ground.


Stance Phase: Pre Swing

The stance phase ends with a segment called pre swing, which takes approximately 60 percent of the cycle, before transitioning into the swing phase. Also known as the second segment of double limb support, pre swing relies on the hip flexors to propel the body forward into the swing phase.


XSENSOR: Technology for measuring gait

XSENSOR has developed gait-measuring technology that sets the industry standard for excellence. We understand that assessing and analyzing gait is a crucial tool across physical therapy, rehabilitation, and sports medicine—beginning with the measurement of the stance phase, which itself comprises 60 percent of the entire gait cycle.

technology for measuring gait

Using our exceptional, proprietary sensor technology, biomechanics professionals, physiotherapists or pediorthic practitioners can assess clients thoroughly, allowing for more comprehensive gait measurement. XSENSOR’s technology outperforms across the entire industry in both accuracy and repeatability. Our durable, high-resolution sensors are built specifically for gait measurement, and hold up well under the strenuous testing  required. With our Pro Foot & Gait Software and easy-to-use tools, your gait analysis will be comprehensive and rich—in both imagery and data.

For comprehensive gait measurement and analysis, nothing matters more than sensor resolution and top-tier accuracy. XSENSOR’s compact on-shoe electronics include ultra-thin sensors, with insoles measuring at less than 2 mm, allowing for virtually undetectable measurement when analyzing gait for both research and athletic performance. Our insoles themselves are proven to last, showing 5% or less full-scale error after 100,000 loading cycles. 

At XSENSOR, we pride ourselves in offering dynamic sensing technology that maintains both reliability and accuracy. Our gait-measuring products include:

All of these products will equip your practice to collect and analyze gait data in a way that works for you, your providers, and most importantly—for the wellbeing of your patients. No matter what aspect of gait you’re focused on, XSENSOR Technology provides the exceptional science you need to do your job well.

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