If you are injured or recovering from a strenuous workout, you can use your iPhone and Apple Watch to detect the progress of your recovery. This is particularly true if the injury has impacted your ability to walk with ease.
As someone who has a bit of osteoarthritis in the ankle from sports injuries, I am acutely aware of how much I tend to limp in the early hours of a cold winter morning. I have also tried out the HIIT workouts on Fitness+ and some of these workouts can be pretty grueling on your quads and leave you with soreness and affect how easily you walk if you are not used to the HIIT regimen.
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If you are recovering from an injury and are following a specific physio program to regain mobility, you can now monitor your progress using your Apple Watch and iPhone.
The answer to “How well am I progressing” is buried in a very simple metric called “Walking Asymmetry” on your iPhone.
What is Walking Asymmetry?
Apple released a series of metrics in the Health app with iOS 14 called the Mobility metrics. Starting with watchOS 7.2 and iOS 14, users can use this section in the health app to monitor critical metrics such as “Double Support time”, “Walking Speed” and “Step length”, apart from walking asymmetry.
According to Apple’s description, Walking asymmetry is the percent of the time that your steps with one foot are faster or slower than the other foot.
The lower the percentage of asymmetry, the healthier your walking pattern.
When recovering from an injury that has reduced your mobility, you can follow this metric closely along with the important 6MWT that was also introduced by Apple with iOS 14. As you get better with each passing day or week you will find that the asymmetry percentage shows you a declining trend confirming your progress.
How to check Walking Asymmetry on your iPhone
All of the mobility-related metrics are present in the Health app on your iPhone.
- Launch the Health app on your iPhone
- Tap on ‘Browse’ tab at the bottom of your screen
- Next, tap on ‘Mobility’
- Tap on ‘Walking Asymmetry’
- Choose W/M/Y to see the weekly, monthly or yearly trend from the top
I had a flare-up on my right ankle during the second week of Dec. As I worked through the issue with mobility exercises and cold compress, I found that the trend started getting better over the next few weeks.
It was amazing to see that my iPhone could track it so clearly when I walked with a little limp.
A partner metric to check when looking at asymmetry is the ‘Double Support Time’.
This is the percentage of time during a walk that both feet are on the ground. A lower value means you spend more of your walk with your weight on one foot instead of two. During a typical walk, this measure will fall between 20 and 40%.
Your iPhone will record both these metrics and other mobility measures automatically when you carry your phone near your waist – such as in a pocket – and walk steadily on flat ground.
These incremental improvements made by Apple in the Health function have huge benefits. These metrics also form the basis of the myMobiity platform of Zimmerbiomet.
The myMobility platform created as a result of a collaboration between Apple and Zimmer Biomet allows health facilities to understand your condition and optimize your health prior to an orthopedic procedure and help minimize complications after surgery.
Not only can you now monitor your heart rate variability and resting heart rate via your Apple Watch to measure recovery, but you can also take advantage of the asymmetry and double support time metrics to make sure that your mobility is headed in the right direction before you load up on additional strain.
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