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.