0
hero-banner-mobile
line-art-banner

How Do You Check Your Running Gait?


Your running gait, which is the way your foot strikes and leaves the ground, is pivotal in your running efficiency, injury prevention, and overall performance.

This guide will provide comprehensive insights into DIY methods for gait analysis and professional gait analysis, interpreting the results and taking actionable steps to enhance your running form.

By the end of this article, you’ll understand how to analyze and improve your running gait using traditional techniques and the latest technology.

 

How to Check Your Running Gait

How to Check Your Running Gait

Whether you’re gearing up for a marathon or enjoy running as a leisure activity, understanding the mechanics of your foot strike can significantly impact your overall performance.

Here’s a structured approach to fixing your running gait, starting with easily accessible DIY methods before advancing to a more detailed professional analysis.

DIY Methods for Gait Analysis

The Wet Foot Test and Its Insights on Your Arch

The wet foot test is a straightforward technique to determine your arch type, which is critical to your running gait.

  • Step 1: Moisten the sole of your foot.
  • Step 2: Step onto a piece of paper or any surface that can capture your footprint.
  • Step 3: Analyze the imprint to determine your arch type: a full imprint indicates a low arch, a partial imprint points to a normal arch, and a barely-there imprint suggests a high arch.

Deciphering Wear Patterns on Your Running Shoes

The wear patterns on your running shoes are like a logbook of your running mechanics. Here’s what they can reveal:

  • Pronounced wear on the inner sole suggests overpronation.
  • Wear on the outer sole indicates underpronation (supination).
  • Uniform wear across the sole denotes neutral pronation.

This analysis helps pinpoint misalignments in your gait, potentially averting injury.

Basics of Video Analysis: Key Observations

Video observations can illuminate areas for improvement, enhancing your running form.

Capture a video of yourself running, ideally from both side and rear angles. Focus on your foot strike pattern, knee alignment, and hip stability.

Professional Gait Analysis

A professional gait analysis typically involves running on a treadmill under the watchful eyes of high-speed cameras. This process meticulously examines the interaction between your foot and the running surface, joint angles throughout your running cycle, and overall running form efficiency.

This in-depth analysis offers a holistic view of your running mechanics, pinpointing inefficiencies and potential areas for injury prevention.

A professional gait analysis brings several benefits over DIY methods, including:

  • Accurate identification of biomechanical flaws.
  • Tailored recommendations for gait improvement.
  • Personalized shoe selection advice to suit your unique gait.

 

Screen Shot of Software 1

Interpreting Gait Analysis for Improved Performance

After you’ve gone through the gait analysis process, whether by yourself or with a professional, the real work begins with interpreting the results.

This crucial step informs your path forward, helping you make choices that can improve your running form and guide you to the footwear that best supports your stride.

Let’s dive into what these pronation types mean for you and how you can address them.

Neutral Pronation

When gait analysis reveals a neutral pronation, it shows a beautifully balanced foot strike.

Your foot lands on the outer side and gently rolls inward at a perfect 15-degree angle, distributing weight evenly across your foot.

This is the gold standard of foot motion, indicating efficient mechanics and a lower risk of injury.

Addressing Neutral Pronation

The best approach here is to keep doing what you’re doing but ensure you’re supported. Look for shoes that offer moderate stability features.

These should support your natural motion without trying to fix something that isn’t broken.

It’s also wise to keep up with exercises that maintain the strength and flexibility of your feet and legs, ensuring your neutral pronation stays consistent.

Overpronation

If your gait analysis points towards overpronation, you’ll notice your foot rolling inward more than it ideally should. This excessive inward roll shifts weight to the inner edge of your foot rather than evenly across the ball, which can strain your ankles and knees.

Tackling Overpronation

The key here is correction and support. Stability or motion control shoes are your best friends, as they offer firm arch support and corrective features your feet need to counteract that inward roll.

But don’t stop at just changing your shoes; incorporate strengthening and corrective exercises into your routine.

Focus on building up the arch and shin muscles to improve foot stability, and don’t shy away from balance exercises to enhance your foot mechanics overall.

Underpronation (Supination)

Underpronation, or supination, is revealed through gait analysis by showing an outward roll of the foot, placing undue stress on the outer edge. This leads to a lack of proper shock absorption, which can make your runs less efficient and more jarring on your body.

Addressing Underpronation

Cushioned shoes with a soft midsole are the way to go, designed to encourage a bit more inward motion and provide the shock absorption your gait is missing.

But footwear alone won’t solve everything.

Work on increasing the flexibility of your calf and foot muscles while strengthening the outer sides of your feet.

This approach helps promote a more balanced and effective foot strike, making your runs smoother and reducing the risk of injury.

 

Beyond Gait Analysis: Enhancing Your Running Form

Gait analysis is just the start.

To truly elevate your running form and performance, integrating targeted exercises and leveraging the latest technology can provide the boost you need.

Let’s explore how you can take your running to the next level.

Exercises and Drills for a Better Gait

Improving your running gait isn’t solely about correcting pronation issues; it’s also about strengthening your body and refining your technique. Here are some exercises and drills that can help:

  • Single-Leg Balances: Enhance your stability and strengthen your ankles, which are crucial for a balanced gait. Try standing on one foot while maintaining a straight posture, gradually increasing the duration as your balance improves.
  • Calf Raises: Strengthen your calf muscles to support a more powerful push-off with each step. Perform these on the edge of a step for an extended range of motion.
  • Hip Flexor Stretches: Tight hip flexors can restrict your stride length. Incorporate stretches to improve flexibility and promote a fuller range of motion.
  • Butt Kicks and High Knees: These dynamic drills improve your leg turnover rate and encourage proper knee lift, contributing to a more efficient running form.

Incorporating these exercises into your routine can lead to noticeable improvements in your running form, making each run smoother and more effective.

The Role of Technology in Gait Analysis

The evolution of technology has brought about revolutionary tools that offer in-depth insights into running mechanics far beyond what traditional gait analysis can provide.

Here’s how technology is changing the game:

  • Wearable Sensors: Devices like smart insoles and fitness trackers can monitor your stride in real-time, providing feedback on foot strike, cadence, and even asymmetries in your gait.
  • Running Apps: Many apps now offer gait analysis features, using the sensors in your smartphone or connected devices to give you actionable advice on improving your running form.
  • Advanced Treadmills: Some high-end treadmills are equipped with integrated gait analysis tools, offering immediate feedback and allowing for real-time adjustments during your run.

By embracing these technological advancements, runners can better understand their gait and make precise adjustments to enhance performance and reduce the risk of injury.

 


Enhancing Running Performance through Gait Analysis

Understanding and optimizing your running gait is a cornerstone of improved performance, injury prevention, and enhanced running efficiency. Whether through simple DIY methods or advanced professional analysis, identifying your unique gait characteristics allows for targeted interventions that cater specifically to your needs.

Embrace the insights gained from your gait analysis to make informed decisions about your training, footwear, and overall approach to running. By doing so, you not only improve your running efficiency but also experience enjoyable and injury-free running.