Reliable biomechanical assessment


As I get older I am finding that I am experiencing lower back pain...I suspect that this may be related to my running.

Over the past 10 years of running different experts have told me different things to fix past niggles.  I have gone along with their recommendations but now I look back it seems as though the fix is always related to the specialisation of the practitioner in question.  In some cases one expert will contradict the diagnosis of another which I find particularly confusing!

Can anyone recommend a place where I can get:

(1) an accurate and informed assessment of my running form

(2) an expert and independent view of what I should do to correct things.

I'm based in Midlands but would happily travel to get what I'm after.



  • (1) Sorry, Don't know.

    (2) That's never going to happen. It's a great idea and I know exactly what you want, and understand your frustration, but I don't think it's humanly possible to get the independence you want.
    I think your best bet is to look into the underlying philosophies behind the different treatment methods, decide whether you agree with the philosophy and take any answer with a pinch of salt.
    We have a sports injury centre at work (I work at a uni) which I occasionally use. Once I was there for lower back pain, and a student was doing an assessment of my spine and noting all the problems with it.
    The tutor monitoring the assessment then pointed out that were you to go to any human being with or without back pain, you're going to find problems with their back. The difficulty is assessing if these problems are the route cause of their current problem.

    Which I guess is a rambling way of saying that, well it's tricky.
    Anyway, good luck with your search!
  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭
    as Ian says, it's tricky

    you will get varied opinions from different specialists and you'll hear stories of X fixing my problem that loads of others missed. there really is no simple answer bar doing good research on whatever your condition is and seeking out experts who might have a speciality.

    age is going to throw up more problems as the body does tend to start falling apart with age - I'm seeing more myself now - and you have to manage as best you can. you're not immortal sadly.

  • Thanks for the replies guys

    I accept your points about age fat budha...that's the main reason I want to get this done.  I like my running and want to be doing it for years to come.  I'd like to spot things now so that they can be managed correctly going forwards.  I don't expect 100% niggle free but I'd like to know that (a) I'm not damaging myself and (b) that I'm doing everything I can to keep on going.

    My experience to date is consistent with your views on independence Ian...hence my post.  But come on...there must be some clever clogs out there doing this stuff...initial discussion about running history, issues & injuries / treadmill observation & recording / a bit of a rummage to check stuff out / diagnosis & recommendation.

    I'm not saying that I don't want to pay for follow-up treatment, orthotics, massage or whatever.  I am saying that I don't want the nature of the recommendation to be predetermined by the background of the person conducting the analysis. 

    I'm not giving-up just yet.

    Any recommendations gratefully received!

  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭
    my local Uni runs it's own sports treatment centre that is also open to the general public - that way you get access to the best of modern understanding of injury issues from a sports perspective. they tap into the sports science/physio/podiatry schools and it's headed up by a medic who works with the GB Paralympic squad who will also look at injuries from a more medical viewpoint and refer on to medical specialists as/if needed. sure, it costs (unless you have insurance cover) but is a very useful resource to have.

    knowing people who are lecturers in sports science can also help you access resources that might help

    maybe you have similar close to you?? I'm sure mine can't be unique in the UK
  • I had my full biometric check done at profeet in london and can not reccomend them enough, they spent a great deal of time with me and even gave me exercises to address some of my issues. I most certainly benifited from the experience and discovered a lot about how I run. Profeet sorted my knee issue unlike physios who only addressed the symptoms.

  • Hi Lamb Chop,

    Whereabouts in the Midlands are you?

    I'm a musculoskeletal podiatrist, but I'm based in Surrey.  Let me know where you are and I'll see if I know anyone in your neck of the woods. 

    I would also concur with the previous posters.  There is no miracle cure or crystal ball - if there was, I want it, and will become the richest podiatrist in all the land.......

    Kind regards,

    Ablefeet image

  • Thanks Ablefeet, 

    I'm in Bridgnorth but will happily travel as far as it takes to see someone who knows what they are talking about, is able to take a holistic view and doesn't automatically try and stiff me for a set of custom orthotics.


  • There's a place called Atlas Pain Relief in the Mids who have a running injury clinic. They do biomechanical assessment, Gait analysis etc.  They also do custom orthotics or recommend suitable off the shelf orthotics.  There's one in Tamworth and I went to the one near Birmingham... think the area is classed as Hall Green.  I got custom orthotics from there 2 or 3 years back but I didn't find them particularly pushy or anything like that.
  • Thanks DTS2 

    I've looked at that one...would you recommend them?

  • Well yeah. They did a pretty good job for me I think but then it's the only one I've ever been to so I can't really compare them with anywhere else.  I saw a chap there called Peter Taylor who was a good runner himself I believe. I'm not an expert in this field or anything, just a runner with biomechanical issues.  I ended up with custom orthotics but they didn't try to push them on me, just explained pretty clearly my issues and my options. 

    Good luck anyway, hope you get your back sorted

  • Thanks

    Did the orthotics do the trick?

  • They have definitely made a big difference for me but one of the first things that Peter Taylor at Atlas told me was that they're not a miracle cure, I had to do a lot of stretching and strengthening exercises.  I still have to do a lot of stretching. I'm now running approx 40-45 miles a week which I could have only dreamed about before.  My problem was/is overpronation and a slight leg length discrepancy. My main issue was a shin injury but I used to get a lot of aches and pains particularly from running or just standing up for a few hours.  I hardly get any now and if I do have problems now it's usually because my running shoes are wearing out or I've been neglecting my stretching or I've overtrained.

    The orthotics did take a bit of getting used to though and the custom ones are expensive. Mine have got to the stage now where they need refurbing which is going to cost another £20-£30!

  • Thanks for the info DTS2. No more questions from me. I'm going to give these guys a go. Cheers
  • Hi Lamb Chop,
    Have you been to them? Any opinion...?
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