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What is Gait Analysis and what will it do for me? By Colin Papworth (APC)

 

Colin Papworth is Accelerate Performance Centre‘s resident Podiatrist and Running Form Expert.  His knowledge and understanding of the Running Gait is second to none.  The Accelerate staff team place a great deal of stock in the information and advice he shares, on matters relating to form, feet and footwear.

 

 

 

With many more people taking up running and access to increasing amounts of information via the internet, gait analysis has become a bit of hot topic. There has been much discussion and information concerning what is the best running style, with lots of information on how you should run and why.  There is no standard, fool proof way to run for injury prevention or just running better, everyone seems to have an opinion and most sound plausible.  A comprehensive Gait Analysis should provide you with information regarding to you personally and not just a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Each of the assessments that I carry out will firstly look at your anatomical make-up before you start running and then combine this with video analysis of you running.  Understanding how you move as you do can provide very useful information to help with your running. The gait analysis we offer in clinic is very different to a shop gait analysis in many ways. The entire process will take around an hour although we do offer different services, and these may take up to 2 hours.  We look at all of you from the back and from the side so we can see all of your body and how each segment is working together.

We should use all of our body when we run, it’s not just about feet and legs, so we have to look at you as a whole.

For many sports, learning correct technique is considered a vital aspect when starting up, running technique is sometimes not considered at all.  I often find it is right at the bottom of the list of things that people investigate when either looking at an injury, or trying to improve performance.  Most sports or activities usually involve some sort of coaching or advice on how to go about it, with running pretty much all of us just sort out some shoes and go and get on with it. This is one of the good things about running.  But sometimes we come unstuck.

Things that might signal that your technique may be an issue, are often recurrent injuries relating to the same issue, different injuries moving around our bodies.

Not being able to go faster or longer without putting in a disproportionate amount of extra effort, or sometimes we just lose the love of running along easily.  These things may indicate that you are not using your body as efficiently as you could be.  Sometimes we get stuck in a certain movement pattern and this puts strain on a part of our body, our body then compensates to relieve the pressure which puts a strain somewhere else, which the body then compensates for and so on and so on…

We can then find ourselves running out of options, but we have developed poor posture and running technique through no fault of our own, just letting the body do what it is good at – sorting out the problems we throw at it.

So, my job is to try and sort out why you are running as you are and see what can be done about it.

This will involve having a chat about all those little niggles that seemed to be no trouble, along with the bigger issues.  Often where you are getting most pain is not the main issue – we need to find where it all started from.  The most painful point is where the body has not been able to compensate from and usually not the cause of the problem.  So, we look at all the painful bits, see how all your foot and leg joints are working, have a look at muscle flexibility and strength in both lying and standing.  I’ll have a look at you barefoot walking and then running with your usual running shoes on.

Your running is captured on video and then we have a look at this together.  I then try and work out what is going on and discuss this all with you.  Remember – running injuries are most often repetitive strain injuries (unless you have just sprained an ankle or fallen over), caused by repetitively loading tissues that are not able to take the loads you are placing on them.  Therefore, we need to reduce the damaging load and make the tissues stronger, so they can take it.  We can do this in a number of ways, both in the short term and to make longer term changes.

 

 

So once we have identified what we need to change we can then discuss how to do this.  There are often a number of factors that need to be addressed, so the ‘how and when’ to address these will be discussed. The main issues we address are; posture / technique, strength and flexibility, footwear, training sessions and such things as orthoses or taping.  After discussion of the changes I feel need to be made, you will then go back onto the treadmill and try to make said changes.  This is then videoed, so you can see the changes.  Using your body in a different way will feel strange at first, so having the video confirmation will help you make changes.

Changes need to be small to start with and you will likely be given some complimentary exercises and running drills to help you make the changes. There will also be a review session set up, so we can check on progress.  We can also discuss things like footwear changes, changes to your training, further strength and conditioning and orthoses.

If you are interested in finding out more about the gait analysis service, then please get in touch.

 

Accelerate Performance Centre take bookings via the Accelerate Store, on Tel: 01142422569.

Colin attends the Clinic every Thursday and can perform an in-house Gait Analysis for upto 60 minutes.  He also offers a complete Running Form/Gait Analysis Service for approx 120 minutes, which involves indoor and outdoor assessments, Run Drills, Video Anaysis (for you to keep for future reference) and more…

Feel free to call or email colin.papworth@accelerateuk.com if you have any questions.

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