If you’re a runner, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of gait analysis. And if you haven’t heard of it, this will be a very insightful post for you!
What exactly is it?
Gait analysis is all about studying how people walk or run!
Let’s define it by breaking it up into two words: “gait” and “analysis.”
“Gait” is all about the way we move, like the sequence of steps we take and how our limbs work together. It’s all about our walking and running style.
“Analysis” is all about breaking things down and studying them closely.
In gait analysis, you can observe and measure your walking or running style and use that information to help you improve your overall performance.
It’s like detective work but to improve your walking and running style.
By looking at someone’s gait, we can learn about their running form and identify any potential problems that could be causing them pain or slowing them down.
There are several different methods of gait analysis, but the most common ones involve using slow-motion video footage, using pressure plates, or a treadmill assessment.
Here, we’ll take a closer look at what gait analysis is, the benefits of doing one, and some of the different methods that are available.
What is a gait analysis for Runners?
Gait Analysis is a powerful way for runners to gain insight into their performance and enhance their running performance.
It is a comprehensive analysis of the foot, lower leg, and gait cycle that helps identify any gait-related issues a runner is facing.
Gait analysis takes into account data from motion sensors, pressure sensors, and advanced medical interviews to produce an accurate gait report. Through gait analysis, runners can determine if their gait is healthy or if modifications are needed to reduce possible injuries or other gait related issues that might be putting strain on the body.
Some gait analysis benefits include identifying gait abnormalities or friction in certain areas while running as well as spotting musculoskeletal imbalances before they become more serious issues.
Ultimately, gait analysis provides an invaluable tool for any runner looking to optimize their form and technique through personalized feedback tailored to them.
The benefits of having a gait analysis done
Going for a gait analysis is a great way for runners to improve their running technique and reduce the risk of injury. A gait analysis can reveal imbalances in the way a runner is striking the ground, their foot pronation and foot rate, as well as other factors that can cause or increase discomfort during or after running.
By identifying these issues and gait flaws, specialists can provide advice on shoe type, gait training drills, and how to adjust stride length or cadence. The main benefit of having gait analysis done is that it allows for more accurate diagnosis than self-diagnosis; an experienced professional can tailor a plan specifically to address weaknesses and help runners become more efficient in their gait. When taken proactively, gait analyses can prevent many injuries before they occur!
5 types of gait analysis runners can use to improve their performance
You can use five main gait analysis types, each offering slightly different information on the individual’s gait.
The types of analysis include video analysis, pressure plates, electromyography, treadmill assessment, and kinematic measurements.
Video analysis will look at how your body is moving as you run; pressure plates measure force distribution across your feet as they hit the ground; electromyography measures electrical activity in your muscles; treadmill assessment assists with understanding the stress on each leg as you stride; and lastly, kinematic measurements detect any irregularities with your range of motion while running.
Now, let’s go into more detail about the 5 types and their benefits:
1. Video Analysis
A video analysis typically involves filming a person walking or running and then using specialized software to analyze the footage.
The software allows for measurements to be taken of various aspects of the gait, such as stride length, foot strike, and alignment of the joints. This information can then be used to identify any problems or areas for improvement in your gait.
For example, a runner who overpronates (rolls their foot too far inward) may be at a higher risk of developing injuries such as shin splints or knee pain.
A gait analysis with video can help identify this issue, and the runner can then work with a coach or physical therapist to address it.
This can include exercises to strengthen the muscles that support the foot and ankle, as well as adjustments to their running form to help reduce overpronation. Additionally, the therapist might recommend orthotics to help control the foot’s motion.
2. Pressure Plates
Pressure plates measure ground reaction forces as the person moves across them, allowing for the assessment of speed and other world forces.
A gait analysis using pressure plates involves the individual walking or running over a specialized platform that contains sensors to measure the distribution of pressure on the feet. The pressure data is then analyzed to determine various aspects of gait, such as the timing and duration of each foot strike, and the distribution of pressure throughout the foot.
For example, a runner who has a high arch may have less contact with the ground during a foot strike, which can increase the risk of injuries such as stress fractures.
Using pressure plates can help identify this issue, and the runner can then work with a coach or physical therapist to address it. This can include exercises to strengthen the muscles in the foot and ankle, as well as adjustments to the running form, such as landing on the midfoot instead of the heel, to help distribute pressure more evenly throughout the foot.
Additionally, the therapist might recommend orthotics to help support the arch and redistribute the pressure more evenly across the foot.
Overall, gait analysis using pressure plates can provide valuable information about the mechanics of an individual’s gait, and can be an important tool for runners to help identify potential issues and improve their running form to reduce the risk of injury.
Electromyography measures electrical activity in muscles which helps measure agonist and antagonist muscle activation cycles during walking.
It involves attaching small sensors called electrodes to your skin, usually on the legs, and then you walk or run on a treadmill or over a certain distance. These sensors pick up the electrical signals from your muscles and send them to a machine that can read and analyze them.
This information can tell us a lot about how your muscles are working when you run, such as how much they’re contracting when they’re contracting, and how coordinated the muscle activity is.
For example, if you’re experiencing knee pain when running, a gait analysis using electromyography can help to identify which muscles are not working properly or if there’s an imbalance between muscle groups, such as the quadriceps and hamstrings. This information can help to guide the rehabilitation process and also can help to improve running form.
Overall, a gait analysis using electromyography can provide valuable information about the muscle activity and coordination during running, and can be an important tool for runners to help identify potential issues and improve running form to reduce the risk of injury.
4. Treadmill Assessment
Treadmill assessments provide detailed assessments of gait pattern with controlled conditions to compare abnormal features with a standard pattern.
It’s a way to measure your running style and biomechanics while you run on a treadmill.
It involves running on a treadmill while being filmed from different angles, typically with a high-speed camera. The footage is then analyzed by a specialist to assess different aspects of your gait, such as your foot strike pattern, the range of motion in your joints, and your overall running posture.
For example, a runner who has a tendency to overstride (landing with the foot too far in front of the body) may be at a higher risk of developing injuries such as knee pain. A gait analysis using treadmill assessment can help identify this issue, and the runner can then work with a coach or physical therapist to address it. This can include exercises to improve the hip stability and strength, as well as adjustments to their running form to help reduce overstriding.
Overall, a gait analysis using treadmill assessment can provide valuable information about the biomechanics of an individual’s gait, and can be an important tool for runners to help identify potential issues and improve their running form to reduce the risk of injury. It’s like a movement checkup, it can help you identify areas that need work and help you achieve better performance and avoid injuries.
5. Kinematic Measurements
Kinematic measurements track joint angles through motion sensors attached directly onto the body or placed near joints – this helps to very accurately monitor angles at different stages within the gait cycle.
It’s a way to measure the movement of your joints during running.
It involves attaching reflective markers to different points on your body, such as your ankles, knees, and hips, and then filming yourself running with a high-speed camera. The footage is then analyzed using specialized software that can track the movement of the markers and calculate the range of motion and angles of your joints.
For example, a runner who has limited ankle range of motion may have a harder time propelling themselves forward, which can lead to a less efficient running form.
A gait analysis using kinematic measurements can help identify this issue, and the runner can then work with a coach or physical therapist to address it.
This can include exercises to improve the flexibility and range of motion in the ankle, as well as adjustments to their running form to help make better use of the available range of motion.
Overall, a gait analysis using kinematic measurements can provide valuable information about the movement patterns of an individual’s joints, and can be an important tool for runners to help identify potential issues and improve their running form to reduce the risk of injury.
It’s like a movement checkup, it can help you identify areas that need work and help you achieve better performance and avoid injuries.
All these forms of gait analysis have their unique benefits, so engaging multiple analyses can provide an even more accurate picture when examining an individual’s walking patterns.
Gait analysis can be super helpful for runners because it allows you to understand your body and how it moves while running. Doing a gait analysis can help prevent injuries, improve performance, and make sure you are using the right shoes.
There are a few different ways that you can get your gait analyzed.
You can go to a running specialty store, look for a fitness facility that offers this service, or even use an app on your phone.
If you want to learn more about what gait analysis is and how it can benefit runners, fill out the form below and we’ll send you more information.