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Running / Gait analysis - Who would benefit?

Gait analysis offers the opportunity for clinical assessment of the act of walking or running. This can be part of a functional assessment for an injury or chronic pain and can be done during walking and/or running depending on which is the problem. It is also commonly used for athletes to help them to improve their running efficiency and to identify either postural/movement related problems in people with injuries.

Issues with gait pattern can be the root cause of many different types of pain, for example heel pain, shin splints, knee pain, hip pain and even low back pain. Minor adjustments to the biomechanics of walking or running can alleviate many of these conditions and anomalies of gait pattern should not be overlooked as a possible cause for a wide range of pain patterns.

An example of this is an insole to correct an over-pronated foot can improve balance and gait pattern with reduction in a wide range of ailments in the body.

During a gait analysis, particularly of running gait, the physiotherapist records your gait on a treadmill or during running outside so that it can later be analysed. Common findings that can be easily spotted during gait analysis can then be corrected with physiotherapy or podiatry including the following:

  • Over-pronation/over-supination during gait

  • Increased Q angle (angle of the knee inwards/outwards)

  • Hip hiking/hitching

  • Ankle equinus (limited Doris-flexion)

  • Pelvic Tilt (too anterior/posterior)

  • Postural anomalies

In summary, anyone could benefit from a gait assessment but in particular anyone with an injury or pain could benefit from checking their gait pattern to make sure that this is not the cause or at least a contributing factor. I also believe that all runners, even those without injury could benefit from gait analysis with review to see how they could make their running more efficient.

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