What is Gait Analysis?
In the most simple terms gait analysis is watching how someone walks, runs and moves. Observing their movement and recording what you see or maybe hear. Many of us will watch another person walk down the street and notice that they walk a bit "funny". Maybe they are duck footed and their toes point out from the centre. This is gait analysis, you are watching what someone is doing and more often than not noting down 'abnormalities' or aspects which aren't usual. That's probably what drew your attention to them in the first place.
It is important to remember, just because someone doesn't move how we perceive to be 'ideal' doesn't make it wrong. We are all built differently and have spent decades refining our individual movements. When we do gait analysis at Front Runner our aim is not to change how you run and move there and then, we can & do offer advice but know that it takes more than a few words to alter movement which you have engrained over during your life. Our objective is to analyse your gait, provide advice and fit you in the best footwear for your foot and how you move at that time.
What process to do we go through?
When did you last have your feet measured? Have you ever thought about the shape of your foot? Where do you run? Are you training for a marathon?
These are some of the things that we need to go through before even thinking about gait analysis. Our objective is to build an understanding and story about you as an individual to help direct our decision making process.
A shoe may have the best reviews ever online but what good is it if it's the wrong size?
Knowing about your past, be this injuries or footwear you've liked or maybe hated, we can use this information to work out which running shoes might be best for your personal needs.
Once we know a bit more about you and your feet maybe even your old shoes too, we can make a good assumption as to which shoes to start with and most importantly - put you in the correct size shoe. For those that are happy using a treadmill and run naturally on one we always like to get you on there to see how you move. The speed you chose to move at is entirely up to you. Ideally want to see you run at what ever is a comfortable speed. It's at this point where we start to analyse your gait, there is every chance the first couple of shoes we brought out for you aren't suitable at all but this is all part of building a picture and gaining a better understanding of your movement.
The Gait Analysis
What are we looking for? The million dollar question is "What is good gait?" If you were to delve into the depths of gait research you could probably find information to reinforce any of the following claims; minimal footwear is best or heel striking is best or well cushioned footwear is best or supportive footwear is best. There is A LOT of information out there on gait and footwear. The brands are good at selling their products and the internet is an amazing place for people to extol the virtues of just about anything.
The one thing we know here at Front Runner is that there is not one perfect shoe or movement style for everyone. Our Gait Analysis is not necessarily just about what we see and hear: we need to know what you are feeling.
We could see everything our education has taught us is perfect running form but if the shoe isn't comfortable, what good is it?
If your stride is a little long, you're heavy on initial contact or maybe you have a lot of rotation in your upper body we will do our best to bring these things to your attention and explain why you may wish to think about adapting them. But to change movement in a few hours isn't really possible. Being aware is the first step of many to alter movement mechanics.
Our aim is to match up what we are seeing and hearing with what you, as the runner are feeling.
Do we look at pronation?
'Pronation' must be one of the hottest buzzwords in gait analysis. Yes, we do look at pronation but avoid at all costs the term "over-pronation". A lot of what is written above is trying to emphasise that we as individuals are all different, this applies to pronation as well. Pronation is a perfectly normal motion with in the foot, it in fact helps to absorb shock amongst other things. There is a very good chance that two people could run injury free and have different amounts of pronation, one might pronate a lot and the other not. It does not mean that one is right and the other wrong.
We are more likely to avoid footwear which causes abrupt motions with in the foot, where the foot snaps from one position to another shock loading the system.
Do I need to book for gait analysis & shoe fitting?
We can take bookings for shoe fitting and gait analysis but it isn't essential. More often than not we'll be able to see you with in 30-60 minutes. We have a waiting lounge in store or alternatively there are lots of wonderful cafes on Sharrow Vale Road you could wait in.
What do I need to bring?
Here is a list of things you might want to think about bringing:
- Old running shoes - whether they've been good or bad it helps us to build an understanding
- Socks - If you have socks you love to run in then bring them too so you can try your shoes with those socks
- Clothes - please bring clothes you are comfortable to run in
- Orthotics - if you have them it is vital you bring them. Orthotics literally don't fit in every shoe so you must bring them
You don't need to be an expert runner to benefit from our service, we will spend as much time with a novice as a seasoned athlete and will always do our best to not use too much technical jargon. We want you to understand why we are making the suggestions we are and to impart some of our knowledge and experience on you.