Gait analysis offers info on how you runWhether they’re experienced or new to the sport, runners can get helpful information about how exactly they run with a “gait analysis,” the basis for recommendations on their running practices.
By: Pamela Knudson, Grand Forks Herald
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Whether they’re experienced or new to the sport, runners can get helpful information about how exactly they run with a “gait analysis,” the basis for recommendations on their running practices.
New technology, called “video gait analysis” which the center started offering in June, captures a visual image of the movement and allows the professional to “slow everything down and look at every angle,” said Jackie Voigt, a physical therapist who works at Altru Health System’s department within Choice Fitness Center in Grand Forks.
Based on this information, “we can recommend exercises that would be good to incorporate into your routine,” she said, “whether you’re dealing with pain or looking to improve efficiency or prevent injury.”
If a runner has a problem with pain, she said, “it may be due to a weakness or an imbalance, wearing the wrong shoe, or range of motion (flexibility).”
At the fitness center, runners will be asked about their goals and if the analysis is needed for evaluation or prevention, said Amanda Leavy, an Altru physical therapist at Choice Fitness.
“We look at balance and stride length,” she said. “We look at what the foot does when they run, as well as what the knee and hip do, and all the way up to the shoulder.
“It’s called the ‘kinetic chain.’ ”
She and her colleagues ask about any injuries the person has sustained, not only those that may be related to running.
“Injuries are a huge thing,” Leavy said. “They give us a lead on things to watch for. If you have knee pain, for example, it’s sometimes due to hip weakness or an old ankle weakness.”
Therapists “want to know what type of runner you are — long distance, track or sprinter,” she said.
They seek to understand the person’s unique gait by observing him or her walking and running on a treadmill.
“Everybody is different, and everybody has a different type of foot, or mechanics of the foot. How they run is individualized.”
That individualization extends to what shoe is best for each runner, Voigt said.
“We try to match the mechanics to the shoe (rather than vice versa). One’s mechanics are ingrained. It’s much easier to change the shoe than the mechanics.”
She recommends that anyone who’s starting a running program “get a shoe that is fit to you (by a running expert).”
That expert “looks at the foot shape and makes recommendations that are fit to you.”
An individual gait analysis is available to the public at Choice Fitness for $50, and billed as a “fee for service,” Voigt said.