True gait analysis to super charge your running
Ever wondered what gait analysis entails or how it could benefit your running? Julie Buckley is a runner who has been working hard this year to achieve running targets. This month she came in for a gait analysis session to see if she could make any improvements in her running style. Here is here write up:
” A couple of years ago I took a huge step, taking to a treadmill for the first time. I wanted to learn how to run, so off I went. Mainly walking; with increasing seconds of running, my goal was to be able to run for 15 minutes without stopping. Once I had done that, I felt brave enough to try running outside.
Fast forward to today and I have a couple of half marathon medals hanging on my shelf and I’m a member of Kimberley and District Striders, the local running club. When I went to buy my latest pair of trainers the shop assistant gave me a form of gait analysis to help me choose the right trainers. My feet were filmed as I ran on a treadmill and I was deemed to be ‘neutral’. Trainers for neutral runners were shown to me and I left somewhat bewildered.
I later met Kerstine through the running club and was intrigued to see that one of the services she offered at her physiotherapy clinic was gait analysis. I asked a couple of other club members what they thought of gait analysis and they sang its praises. After a look at the KHPhysiotherapy website, I soon realised that gait analysis was about much more than buying trainers, so I booked an appointment.
I’ll admit to being a bit nervous on the day as I had no idea what to expect, but Kerstine talked me through the process and put me at ease. We started with a chat about my running history, injuries (luckily none to date) and goals. Then it was time to for a few squats and exercises to test my range of movement and areas of strength and weakness.
On the treadmill I did a short run at a nice, easy pace while Kerstine filmed me from the back and the side. The revelations came next when we sat down and went through the footage. I knew I used to run a little hunched over as I would ache across my upper back after a run, I named it my shuffling old lady style. Over the last six months I’ve tried to run in a more upright position, imagining a helium balloon attached to my head. The back ache has gone, so I was shocked to see how hunched over I still was.
Kerstine talked me through what my body was doing as I ran, and how I was effectively braking and slowing myself down with each stride. This was not only causing me to use more energy in my legs than I need to, it was also having a knock-on effect on my hips which were rolling from side to side – again using up unnecessary energy.
Back on the treadmill, only this time as I ran Kerstine recommended small changes I could make which would alter my running style to make it more efficient. We concentrated on three main areas, so I could remember them and implement them on my runs. Once I was able to do all three things together, the camera rolled again so I could see the difference. I didn’t need to see it though, I could already feel it and hear it as my steps on the treadmill changed from thuds to much lighter taps.
We reviewed the footage and this time I shocked at how, in just a few short minutes, I had gone from a hunched over plodder to the light-footedness I see faster runners manage with ease. Kerstine then talked me through a few exercises to target areas of weakness she’d identified, and I left feeling amazing. Not only did I have a toolkit of tips and exercises to enable me to improve my running style over the next few months, but the session also gave me confidence. Being self-taught the only thing I knew about running was to put one foot in front of the other, so I was never sure if I was doing it ‘right’ or if I might be causing myself a possible injury. For less than the price of the trainers I bought, I’ve now got life-long skills I can use over the years to reach my running goals”.
If you are interested in the gait analysis please get in touch. It can benefit runners of all levels and can help reduce knee pain almost instantly.