Why You Should Get A Gait Analysis

Recently, I talked a little about my running form and asked for your thoughts on the importance of sneakers. I’ve been doing more research and actually listened to a very interesting podcast hosted by blogger and elite runner Tina Muir. Check it out here.

But from what I’ve read, when it comes to running, there are many important factors besides pronation, which is usually what they look at in running stores. Just because you over pronate or don’t, doesn’t mean you must wear a certain type of shoe (like stability). The more important thing is to find shoes that are comfortable for you. Which I do think is true because any time I have tried wearing stability shoes it just doesn’t feel right. Here are two points discussed in the podcast:

  • If Haile Gebrselassie walked into a running store, he would likely be put in motion control shoes, but he wears neutral shoes; things are not always as they seem.
  • How heel striking does not lead to a greater risk of injury; In one study, over 90% of elite and sub-elite marathoners were found to be heel strikers!

No really, listen to it to learn more…it was interesting stuff!

So anyway, on Instagram you may have seen some of my slo-mo videos I had my mom take of my while running. I wanted to see what my running form looked like and also get feedback from Coach Marc, who offers gait analysis services.

Why You Should Get A Gait Analysis

When I looked at the videos, I thought I pronated, but then other people said I don’t…so who knows ;) I sent the video over to Marc, and he sent me back cool photos showing the angles in my running. Here are a few examples:

gait analysis

gait analysis2
Pretty cool stuff right? He also looked at my video and saw during my kick back, my feet were kind of going to the side. He said, “Think of a piston in a car – if it had the same non-linear motion as your feet when they are behind you, the car wouldn’t operate smoothly. Form drills prior to running and maintenance post-run will do wonders for your pains and your form.”

The drills he mentioned are A-skips, B-skips, high knees, butt kicks, etc. I do usually do them in my warm-up but only for probably a total of 2 minutes max. He does them with his XC team for about 15 minutes during a warm-up. Clearly I need to do more.

I do want to go to a sports therapist and get an in-person analysis done so perhaps they can really tell me my issue with my shins. But from what I now know from these videos, hip strength and working on my form might help a bit. This is why it could really benefit you to get a gait analysis! Here are some key reasons (besides to see whether you pronate or not):

  • You will be able to see how your body moves. I had no idea my legs kicked back and inwards as I ran. This could be causing issues and I had no idea about it.
  • An experienced person will be able to look at the video and instantly pick up on muscle weaknesses and imbalances, like hip drop, which I read more about this week.
  • Provides you with a “before and after” source so you can see your improvement. You can try to change your gait or strengthen weak muscles but how will you know it worked if you have nothing to compare it to?

I really liked this quote from Active regarding why gait analysis is important:

Gait analysis is about looking at your entire body as a holistic organism—a single amazing unit. It goes far beyond an untrained eye watching you jog in a pair of sneakers.

It really is so much more than just your feet and the degree to which they roll inward or outward. Often times, it could be issues like core strength that are contributing to your lower leg issues, not necessarily if you overpronate or not.

As I had mentioned, Coach Marc provides gait analysis services along with this virtual coaching. If you want someone to take a better look at your running form and give you suggestions, definitely check him out! Plus, if you need a customized training plan in general, I highly suggest you connect with him and see if his coaching would be a good fit for you.

Have you had a gait analysis done?

What do you think is the weak link in your running?

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Comments

  1. Looks like an interesting and worthwhile exercise. Good for you to have it done and thanks for sharing.
    Elle recently posted…5 Ways to Have More Fun With Your WorkoutsMy Profile

  2. I would love to get a gait analysis. I had to fix my gait all by myself! But I am damn proud of it, haha. I learned the hard way the bits and pieces that needed to be fixed along the way, but now I have a gait that i am proud of. That said, I’d still like to see how I can continue to improve it.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Fitness Ups and Mental Downs : PerspectiveMy Profile

  3. This is VERy cool! I need to figure out WHERE I can find one of these places to get my gait analyzed. :)
    Rachel recently posted…Yassos with a Jogger and Training ThoughtsMy Profile

  4. I definitely think I probably have a weird gait…I have always walked and ran with my toes pointed out, it takes a great deal of concentration for me to walk with my feet straight, they just naturally roll outward. My dad is the same way (thanks for the duck walk, dad!) so I know it’s something genetic and I wonder if I would run faster and with less wear and tear if I could correct that form. Sounds like a cool service!
    Kate @KateMovingForward recently posted…5 Ways to Support Your Favorite BloggerMy Profile

  5. This is so interesting. I’ve had numerous gait analyses does and I’ve never been satisfied with the feedback. They’re all pretty much, “you’re fine, you’re in the right shoe”. I suspect all gait analyses are not equal.
    Marcia recently posted…Thinking Out Loud: Random StuffMy Profile

  6. I’ve never had this done before, but I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews from those that have had it done. I’m definitely interested in having the analysis done in the future.
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Magical Miles: The Runner’s Guide to Walt Disney World Review and GiveawayMy Profile

  7. Thanks for talking about the podcast :) So glad you enjoyed it, and YES! I am all for this of course! I think you are doing the right thing by working on it, and I would 100000000% recommend the UVA speed clinic to anyone looking at getting it done. i have done a few posts on my blog about my experience, and it was well worth the 6.5 hour drive!
    Tina Muir recently posted…Fuel Your Recovery- Active Release Therapy and Graston TechniqueMy Profile

  8. I definitely need to do this again before I purchase my next pair of shoes. I definitely pronate but also tend to swing my gait to use my hips more than I should. Great post!
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…Organic Runner Mom’s Fresh FiveMy Profile

  9. I know what a couple of my problems are, but I really need to get someone (who isn’t just interested in selling me shoes) take a look at the whole picture.
    MCM Mama Runs recently posted…Marine Corps Marathon, here I come!My Profile

  10. This kind of stuff fascinates me! I had a gait analysis done and the info from it was invaluable.
    jill conyers recently posted…Benefits of Eating In SeasonMy Profile

  11. I had a gait analysis done. It was really interesting. I drop my left hip when I run too fast which has caused me some pain. Now I know where to focus on.
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…FYI Friday – Nutrients for Active People – Water & ElectrolytesMy Profile

    • Yeah I’m pretty sure I have hip drop as well…I really do need to be better with hip strengthening exercises. I’m just so lazy when it comes to doing strength training after runs.

  12. Part of my course work when earning my Kinesiology degree from UVA was gait analysis, so observing people’s gait when they walk/run is something I almost subconsciously! My husband thinks it’s hilarious that it’s one of the main reasons I love to people watch.

    Glad you got the chance to experience this.

    • a blogger and fellow runner Tina Muir got a gait analysis at UVA and was recommending it to me. I wish I lived closer!

  13. I really should get this done. Biomechanics was one class in school I kind of glazed over, it didn’t hold my interest. But maybe that is because the instructor made almost every example about golf…had it been running, I might have listened more ;) On that note, I purposely trained myself to run with a mid to forefoot strike a few years ago. It has really seemed to help alleviate some issues I used to have, namely knee and shin pain!
    RFC recently posted…The JourneyMy Profile

  14. This is so cool! I have done biomechanics projects that involve super high speed cameras and analyzing gait, but not like this. I am so curious as to what I would find! My hamstrings and IT bands are constantly giving me trouble (no matter the form of exercise), so I’d like to see if there’s a not-so-mysterious solution!
    Amanda I Chasing My Sunshine recently posted…Road Trip: Charlottesville VAMy Profile

  15. I’ve had a gait analysis done by a physical therapist and it was WELL worth it! She showed me what I needed to strengthen, what I needed to stretch more and overall explained how my body mechanics worked as I ran. I would highly recommend it! Find a PT who has experience in this and get in to see them!

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