Gait analysis is a method used to assess the way we walk or run to highlight biomechanical abnormalities.
- Gait analysis gives you crucial information about your running style
- It helps you to understand your level of pronation
- Plus, it looks at your leg and body movement to pinpoint areas that may be affecting performance and efficiency
- The goal is to find the right running shoe for you that makes running more comfortable
- You can also cut out any recurring injuries caused by wearing the wrong type of shoes
Gait analysis provides runners with essential information about their running style. This is important however long they have been running, as only through knowing their running style will they be able to select the right shoes.
The major focus of gait analysis is to measure the degree of pronation. Pronation is the natural inward roll of the foot as the outside part of the heel strikes the ground. This roll acts as a shock absorber for the leg and body, optimally distributing the force of the impact of the heel hitting the ground.
- Overpronation is when the feet roll inward too much
- Underpronation (or supination) is where the feet don’t roll inward enough.
Gait analysis matches the runner’s degree of pronation with the correct shoe type, with the aims of counter-balancing over or underpronation, helping reduce the risk of injury and improving running efficiency.
Gait analysis is usually performed by a professional, such as a podiatrist or physiotherapist, although it is now becoming more widespread and readily available with many specialist running and sports shops now gaining the equipment and staff who are trained in gait analysis.
Gait analysis usually involves walking or running on a treadmill. In some cases the professional will simply watch the way that you move, looking in particular at your feet, ankles, knees and hips. In more specialist settings, a video recorder will often be set-up behind the treadmill, which will record film of your gait cycle. This can then be relayed to a laptop where slow motion and freeze frames can be used to carefully assess your running or walking style. This form of gait analysis usually focuses on the feet and ankles. Watch our video on treadmill gait analysis here.
Many injuries are often caused, at least in part, by poor biomechanics. Runners and athletes whose sports require a high level of running and jumping should make sure they have had a gait analysis and buy the correct footwear to avoid future overuse injuries. The following are a list of common overuse injuries associated with poor gait biomechanics:
If it is found that there is an abnormality of your gait cycle. This can usually be correct with a change in footwear, the use of orthotics or an exercise programme.If it is found that there is an abnormality of your gait cycle. This can usually be correct with a change in footwear, the use of orthotics or an exercise programme.
Comfort is the most important factor in choosing a pair of shoes making your gait a perfect one. Consult your physiotherapist at our Physiotherapy and Sports Rehabiliatation Centre.