Runner Gait Analysis Keeps Runners Running

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1a Why Every Runner Should Have a Gait AnalysisIs there a jogging path you like to follow, or a time of day that makes you want to lace up your running shoes? If yes, you know that running, no matter how repetitious it seems, is anything but boring. Runners tend to be creatures of habit, and the habitual life of a runner is what some runners call “exhilarating.” But while runner’s high can drive cardio enthusiasts to travel miles on foot, the monotony of the exercise poses danger to the body.

According to Runner’s World, the most common complaints runners have is pain in their knees, heels, thighs, feet and shins. All too often, these injuries are met with advice no runner wants to hear: “Stop running for a while.”

When devoted to a sport that has high rate of injury, how do you protect yourself from harm and maintain the running habits you enjoy?

Runner Gait Analysis

This is the same question Dr. James Hackney, Associate Professor of physiotherapy at Missouri State University, asked last year. He recently had students conduct “running gait analyses,” at local races, where runners jogged on treadmills while their strides were being visually recorded. Then, Hackney and his students reviewed the recordings to examine the “…ability of runners to stabilize their body, especially when their foot goes to the ground and absorbs the force.” In watching runners closely, the trained eye can see if proper pronation and supination occur. According to Hackney’s studies, the most common gait error he observed was the failure of a “heel bone to move back into supination before the foot left the ground.”

If you have a questionable gait, the repetitious act of running can be hazardous. This is why runners may benefit from personalized gait analyses. Entrusting a physiotherapist to evaluate your posture and technique is one of the first steps you can take to prevent common running injuries, avoid pain and continue your favourite fitness routine.

Avoiding Runner Injuries

More so, a physiotherapist can do more than point out inconsistencies with your gait; he or she may recommend ways for you to correct your stride. In effect, you could ultimately arrive at a running stance that is safe and effective. This means you may be able to run as often as you’d like without risk of injury and be a better runner, too.

Running is often praised as the Cadillac of physical activities but aside from its numerous benefits, running can cause serious injury. Avoid pain that comes from running. Instead, embrace running trails by seeing a physiotherapist for a gait analysis. A personalized survey may be all you need to become a better runner.

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