Gait analysis

Originally posted this message on the daily training thread for 25 Nov 03. Had so many interesting/useful responses I am reposting here in case anyone in the future is looking for opinions on Gait Analysis - they'll never find it on the training thread!

All comments/opinions/experiences welcome (and now I'm going to be v embarrassed as this thread dies a sudden death as it's all been said already!).


Basically, half hour session with a podiatrist, starts off with medical history, then examines your feet - how stiff toes, heels, etc are. Then sticks you in front of a mirror, just standing straight. Next, standing on one leg, knees together, bending the standing leg slowly - shows how much you wobble, and where your knees go in relation to your hips and feet. All over the place, in my case. I can't even stand up straight comfortably.

Then onto the treadmill, walking and running, with a video camera filming whole body, legs and feet.

Followed by a frame by frame dissection of the footage (geddit?!)...

And then the hard sell of the physio's services! Well, this session was a freebie to the running club, so I did expect that.

But was it useful? Yes, I think so. I've had loads of problems with my knees in the past, and what I didn't realise was that my body behaves as if I still do - I sort of swing my left leg round as though to avoid my right knee which tilts in. This means that I do an odd flick with my left foot, and roll in slightly on it though I'm a neutral runner. It also means I come down very awkwardly on my right leg and put extra stress on that knee.

None of which I would have known without the video analysis and the expert on hand to point out what was happening and why. I'd have just gone back to the doc complaining of knee pain, been given more steroids and painkillers and sent away. Also, the guy said I had a muscle imbalance - quads and hamstrings v well developed compared to the other leg/bum muscles - which isn't helping as I'm just running off them. That'll be the rowing then...

However, the recommendation is an hour and a half of physio, followed by fortnightly sessions at £70 a pop - he didn't suggest how long the 'course' should be. And clearly if you just turn up as a runner (ie, not injured) for a gait analysis, your med insurance company isn't going to shell out money just to correct your running style. I can see the point of doing one session of physio to learn exercises that would help but fortnightly sessions is a hell of a commitment (and a lot of time off work - this place is only open 8-6 weekdays) and a lot of money.

I'd be interested in everyone else's opinions though - whether or not you'd go for a course of pre-emptive physio, or whether you'd find exercises to strengthen your weaker muscles, and make a conscious effort to correct your gait whilst running? Or is there another option?

I'll almost certainly go back for another gait analysis in, say, 4 months' time, when I've got more mileage under my belt.


  • ....tumbleweed........

    .......a distant bell tolls........
  • well my post on this was so negative that i dont think Ill post it again
  • No, actually, I'd advise everyone to have themselves looked at - it was hugely revealing for me to discover I was a collapsed-arch freak, as I'd had no idea before, and the knowledge has helped me to stay kind-of injury-free since (right shoes, corrective inserts).

    I'm quite interested in whether correcting the imbalances is the better way forward - when I've asked that kind of thing in the past, I've got mostly silence, and few (if any) "yes"-es.

    So..... anyone else?
  • I know about my deformities

    but Im not injured
  • Tend to agree - get physio if you're damaged, otherwise doubtful. I think.
  • I'll re post my coments from the "DTT"

    Snail, most interesting post, & I'll shall give it more thought.
    I think your approaching it, in a sensible way. We will talk more!

    For myself the fact that I can run 100+ miles, week in week out & never get injured must say somthing for my running style.
    Sorry folks.
    However I'd still be interested in this, as I find it fascinating as to how the body works.

    Gait Analysis
  • Back in 88 or 89 I went to a physio with a problem [I cannot remember what]. He told me I had one leg longer than the other, which was causeing me the trouble.
    I was given a heel insert & told to put it in my shoe. I never liked the idea at all but did as I was told.

    Before long I had another injury in my knee!
    So I stop useing the insert got treatment from another physio & have had no problem since.

    OK so I have one leg a little bit longer than the other, that's not too supprising as I'm not a machine I'm a human or an individual.
    The way I feel my body has built muscle strenghth over the years to let my body run correctly & without injury.

    However I do feel that if your getting injured of have a history of lower leg problems than Gait Analysis is a very good idea. I'd even consider it myself, even without any problems.
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    damn i was too quick - i thought this thread was about the talented steven gaitley
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • Daz - are you being flippant? [blink]
  • I quit running 15 years ago when I noticed my knees were causing trouble after every run. Thought that was just bad luck, nothing to be done for it, just quit.

    This time round, a friendly podiatrist pointed out that my feet were flat, which I knew, and that one leg was an inch and a half longer than the other, which I didn't. She was fearful of correcting too much too soon, gave me fairly pricey but off the shelf orthotics, which I have now in every shoe I wear but we decided to ignore the leg length discrepancy.

    That was two years ago. Now possibly I ought to go back due to persistent hip problems, but I think I am making such fantastic progress with Pilates, I am training as much as I have stamina to train for without impossible hip trouble - so, why rake up trouble?

    Pilates is reasonably cheap £42 for a 6 week series of one hour classes, for me is excellent value, and puts me in charge - I can do it myself, I don't need it done to me.

    It matters a lot that I am in control.

    I have spent large amounts of money on various alternative therapies. I don't necessarily resent it - pursuing possibly ineffective treatment is a heck of a lot more positive than sitting still and resigning yourself to invalid status.

    But I don't like any treatment where either I am intimidated into expensive kit/medicine, or else booked into open ended series of treatment.

    Put a finishing date on it is my suggestion, and finish when you say you will. If you choose to come back for further courses of treatment, it is your choice, not anybody elses.

    You don't have to be a brilliant runner for money spent on making running comfortable to be worthwhile. I am quite sure running is every bit as important to me as it is to Paula. You don't have to look to far on this forum to see that there are plenty of people like me.

    Put your money on what matters, but stay in control. Good luck.
  • I agree Stickless, my running/health is important to me so if I can afford to get a problem sorted I will, but like you say, stay in control other wise it could cost a fortune!
  • LizzyBLizzyB ✭✭✭
    This is what I posted yesterday

    I've got a laughable running style, caused by a hip problem (which is was born with) and knee problems (which resulted from this). I've had lots of advice and exercises from physios to help redress some of the worst immbalances, but quite honestly, I would pay £70 a pop to sort out my running style, as I run flat footed, very short and choppy, with my legs swinging out at the side .... despite this I can still roll along atjust above 7 minute miling, so I do wonder how much faster I'd be if I ran 'properly'...

    --------------------- you can see, I'm a complete sucker for any physio who offers me an open-ended treatment plan and know how to let someone else spend my money....

    Seriously though, I do actually know quite a lot about my running style and my various problems, having spent an awful lot of time in various hospitals over the years, and as a result I do wonder if it is possible to sort out my gait entirely ..or maybe it could just be refined a bit?

    In my case, I *know* I would be a lot faster if I had a better gait, maybe knocking a minute per mile off my average speed (or more). And being the sort of person to whom winning is important, I would pay for it to be improved! I might get injured less, too. Maybe.
  • Stickless - I tried yoga which also helped an awful lot - until I found myself getting too competitive at it!

    I couldn't do the meditating/relaxing side at all, because I was always trying to stretch my leg that little bit further than the girl next to me, or reach forward a little bit more than the bloke on the other side of the room...

    sad, innit?

    I think I might restart yoga, though, if I can find any classes on a Sunday morning.

    I'm tempted to go along just for one physio session, to see what they say, but I have no desire to commit myself to anything more - unless I can honestly say that I think the benefits will outweigh the financial and time cost.

    I'd be pretty peed off though if I carried on running, got injured and had to go through the same op and 6-month intensive physio rehab that I did before and they told me it was due to a biomechanical fault which I know about now, and could possible prevent from developing into an injury! But maybe I'm being paranoid?!
  • My dear snail,

    ah, the many blessings of age and repeated humiliation.

    I'm junior in my class, except one pregnant mum, probably by about 10 years, and I'm the one who can only do half the reps because my muscles aren't strong enough! Competitive? Just as ridiculous as it would be for me to be competitive about running.

    Seriously though, don't think Pilates is quite as competitive as yoga, although I think in a way they try and make it so, presumably to keep our interest up.
  • Streuth! The Pose running technique clinic I did is beginning to look quite cheap in comparison to those physios + it's sorted out both my knee problem and the need for expensive anti-overpronation running shoes. I had been thinking I paid somewhat over the odds so thanks for making me feel better about it :-)

  • Chaos, whats a Pose running clinic?
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