What is a Gait analysis? Serious runners will know, but if you are a novice, or just starting out, you’ll have no idea what i’m talking about. A standard Gait analysis consists of three steps: First, you will stand on a platform – sometimes a standard plate which reacts to impact, showing the shape of the bottom of your feet – sometimes on a cushioned pad, showing a more 3D structure of your foot. Coinciding with this initial step, whoever is observing you, and has sufficient training, will take pictures of the back of your feet, when you are stood normally – then with bent knees – then curled up toes. From this first step, you will be classified in terms of whether you have a neutral gait, if you over-pronate, or in rare cases, if you supinate. When you are neutral, your Achilles tendon is in line with the middle of your heel. Over-pronation means your ankles will roll in slightly, supination means the opposite.
The second stage consists of running on a treadmill, in a neutral shoe, whilst a trained professional video’s the back of your feet, a video they can slow down and observe closely. This further determines your gait profile. The final stage has you being put in a correct shoe type for your gait, with several videos taken to make sure that your gait remains neutral.
The importance of a gait analysis is to inform you of the corrections needed for you to have an efficient running style. An efficient running style means you have fewer injuries, and will be able to improve your running more easily. It also allows you to find the CORRECT SHOE for you to run in, as the majority of runners just pick the first shoe they see, not knowing if it correct for them. A large abundance of people Over-pronate when they run, meaning their ankles roll in with every step – this exerts a lot more pressure on the body than it needs, especially the knees and lower back, depending on the degrees of pronation, but inevitably causes multiple problems when running.
When it comes to actually getting a Gait analysis, you could go private and fork out a lot of money getting a specific 3D analysis, but that is not necessary unless you are a serious athlete. Go to your nearest running store, be it a Sweatshop or an Up&Running store, and they have staff that are trained in the area, and it is company policy for them to give a FREE Gait analysis to anyone that comes in and asks for one. I know this because I used to work in one of these shops, so can vouch for the training they get as being valuable and informative.
It is a step runners need to take to make sure they are wearing the right shoes, and to make sure we avoid the majority of future injuries – allowing you to train and improve the way you desire.