How Can Runners Benefit from Gait Analysis?

One of the most popular forms of exercise is running, with millions of people participating in the sport today. However, running also has significant aggravating factors in many injuries and many runners experience injuries associated with this activity. People with running-related injury, particularly a persistent one, can benefit from gait analysis.

What is Gait Analysis?

Gait analysis can play a valuable role in managing running injury as a part of comprehensive training programme. It provides runners with essential information about their running style. Mainly, its task is to measure the degree of pronation.

Pronation is the inward movement of the foot as it rolls to distribute the force of impact of the ground during running. If you pronate your foot while walking or running, your lower leg, knee and thigh all rotate inward.

When you roll your feet too inward, it is referred to as overpronation. If your feet do not roll inward enough, it is referred to as underpronation.

Overpronation usually causes overuse injuries. The inward rotation is exaggerated, putting too much stress on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the foot, lower leg, including shin and knee.

Underpronation causes more of the shock to reach the lower leg. This can cause problems in the joints or lead to stress fractures. As a result, you may feel pain in your feet, particularly the arches. Lack of pronation can negatively affect your running gait, making your running less efficient.

Gait analysis is conducted by a health professional. When conducting a gait analysis, your feet are just a part of the biomechanical puzzle, a part of a holistic, whole body, integrated movement pattern. Like most other whole-body activities, running is essentially a unique way of moving.

Runner’s Knee

Patellofemoral pain, or more commonly known as runner’s knee, is a general term referring to several conditions that cause pain in the front of your knee. As you run, your joints receive continuous impact as you hit the ground. The repetitive impact can eventually lead to damage.

Several factors play a role in knee problems, partly because your knee is a complex joint. It is made up of several bones and muscles, held in place by tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Damage to any of these structures can affect the whole joint. Runner’s knee can be caused by overuse, direct trauma to the knee, mal-alignment, problems with feet, and weak thigh muscles or muscle imbalance.

The Role of Physiotherapy

Sports and exercise physiotherapists are in a great position when it comes to analyzing and understanding running gait. They are knowledgeable when it comes to pain, pathology, biomechanics, and motor learning, which allows them to help you become a better athlete.  Physiotherapists have high understanding of movement analysis, which is a huge part of assessing gait.

An integrated care approach that includes gait training, appropriate training structure and progressive strength and conditioning can help injury management and prevention by modifying loading habits and improving load capacity. Furthermore, a physiotherapist can also recommend ways for you to correct your stride, which ultimately helps you perform a running stance that is safe and effective. You may be able to run as often as you want without predisposing yourself to injury and be a better runner as well.

For more advice on your gait pattern, consult a Perth physiotherapist. Call i Physio Perth at 9272 7359!