FINDING YOUR STRIDE
Gait is the way in which we move our whole body from one point to another. This is done by walking, running, etc. Gait analysis is a method used to assess the way we walk or run to highlight biomechanical abnormalities.
The Body Mechanics (biomechanics) Connection: If your body’s joints are in proper alignment in their neutral position, your body will be able to use it's maximum strength, agility and endurance with minimal risk of strain or injury.
If your movements include compensations (and most of us do), gait analysis can pinpoint areas in the body where they may be occuring. These compensations lead to imbalances around the joints. Your prime movers (hamstrings, glutes, quads) become less active and the smaller stabilizing muscles are forced to do more work, compensating for the larger muscles. In short, this scenario is an injury waiting to happen. Once uncovered, these inefficiencies or costly energy leaks that can rob you of power and speed. Improper, unbalanced movements limit your potential and puts you at an increased risk of injury.
Being able to move efficiently is important in avoiding injuries. Having joints capable of providing sufficient movement and muscles capable of producing sufficient force is vital to generate an efficient gait cycle. If joints are stiff (usually caused by muscle tightness), limiting range of motion, or muscles are weak, the body must find ways of compensating for the problem, leading to biomechanical abnormalities.
Examples of biomechanical abnormalities include:
Overpronation or hyperpronation
Oversupination or hypersupination
Pelvic tilt - can be either anterior, posterior or lateral
Hip hiking (or hitching) - lifting the hip on one side
Increased Q angle - angle between the quads and the knee and gives info about the alignment of knee joint
Ankle equinus - limited ankle dorsiflexion
Biomechanical problems such as these are usually caused by muscular imbalances (tight muscles working against weak muscles), although they can sometimes be caused by structural problems, such as leg length discrepancies resulting in hip hiking.
WHAT IS GAIT ANALYSIS
When an athlete is analyzed it will serve to provide a unique, personal movement picture. That picture reveals the programming of everything happening within your body - individual mobility, stability, flexibility and functional strength levels. Taken together you get a complete picture of a person's gait or movement patterns. Gait analysis is done statically and dynamically. Assessment involves functional movement analysis, measurements and walking or running on a treadmill looking in particular at your feet, ankles, knees and hips, but also your upper body. A video recorder will be set-up at different positions when on the treadmill, which will record your gait cycle to carefully assess your running or walking style.
Many injuries are often caused, at least in part, by poor biomechanics. Having a gait analysis and buying the correct footwear to avoid future injuries is a good idea.
GAIT CYCLE & CORRECTIONS
The gait cycle is the continuous repetitive pattern of walking or running. The gait cycle is split into two main phases, stance and swing, with one complete gait cycle including both a stance and swing phase.
If it is found that there is an abnormality of your gait cycle. This can be corrected with the implementation of an exercise program like our
ATHLETES IN MOTION
and/or a change in footwear.
WHAT TO BRING
Running apparel including shirt, shorts, and shoes you are currently running in. More detailed information on downloaded form.
Your previous 1-2 pairs of running shoes and orthotics (if applicable).
Completed running evaluation FORM detailing detailed injury history, medical history, brief training history and current goals.
Training Log if you keep one.