Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Run Gait Analysis

I have mentioned in a few previous posts that I went to get my running form analyzed a couple weeks ago at the sports medicine hospital here in Houston. Today I want to share with you all the results as well as what I learned from this experience. Up front, though, if you are ever thinking about getting something like this done, I highly recommend it, especially if you are recovering from an injury and looking to prevent more in the future.

When I arrived at the office, we went into the gym area where they had a large industrial treadmill like I’ve never seen. The Exercise Physiologist asked me a few questions as I explained my situation and let her know that I was just coming off 7 weeks of physical therapy for ITBS and I’d really like to make sure this, or any other injury, does not happen in the future. She let me know that she would go over everything with me to make sure I fully understand my current run gait, and how I can improve for the future.

The first step was getting on the treadmill. I walked comfortably for a few minutes to warm-up then started to run. Once I was up to a pace of 10 min/mile (where I often ran pre-injury) and felt comfortable in my stride I let her know that she could start taking video. She needed about 6 minutes total of running video to analyze all angles of my gait.

In total, I ran a mile straight! I was very excited about that – the physiologist said I could keep going as long as I felt comfortable since she was uploading the video and starting to analyze it, so I figured why not? After my cool-down I got off the treadmill to look over the analysis with her. Here are the results:

Toe Off & Heel Strike

Overall, I demonstrated a good posture during the gait. I do not exhibit any signs of over-pronation, medial collapse (ankles rolling inward), nor do I show any signs of external rotation.

I do, however, have a tendency to heel strike on both feet, which could be corrected by shortening my stride length. This can be done by increasing my cadence.

This also helps prove that I am running in the correct shoe – I am a neutral runner, but my ASICS still have a gel support that minimizes the shock on my heel.

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Mid-Stance

This is where the bulk of my problems occur. My hip and shoulder alignment is slightly off and have a hip drop on both sides. While hip drops are inevitable, they are more likely to happen once fatigue sets in towards the end of a run, not in the beginning. If hip drop occurs this early in a run, then the IT band on the opposite side of the hip that is dropped mid-stance is overly stressed during every stride. No wonder I got ITBS! The best way to combat this issue is to strengthen and stretch out my hips, glutes, and abs on a regular basis. I also need to continue to foam roll my IT band and Piriformis.

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Overall, I am so glad I had this done. I learned a lot and am excited to continue to grow as a runner!

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DISCLAIMER: Please know that this was all recommended to me personally by my doctor and physical therapist. I AM NOT A DOCTOR and am not recommending these techniques to anyone. I am merely a runner coming off an injury, and sharing my journey. If you are experiencing any pain please consult your doctor for diagnosis and recovery techniques that will work for YOU.

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QOTD: Have you ever had a run gait analysis done?

24 comments

  1. I was a heel striker too, and my hips are weak. Even after a second round of PT since mid-June, I'm still working on hip strengthening. There's a great exercise I do on a Pilates reformer at PT, and I'm trying to find a way to do those at home.

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    1. Keep up the great work! You will be injury-free soon hopefully!

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  2. This is interesting. I am reading on my phone now but I am going to pull this up once I get to a PC so I can see those pictures a little better. This is something I definitely need to pay attention to. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. This is so cool! I've had a bunch of gait analyses done at PT but it never went as deep with pictures/video. I think that would be so helpful for every runner. I am so glad you got to do this and have some ways to improve your running.

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    1. I definitely recommend it for all runners! It was so helpful.

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  4. I try to stay away from anything that resembles a doctor's visit, but something like this just might be worth a little stress. Looks like you learned so much!

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    1. This definitely wasn't a doctor's visit lol. It was just a way to make sure I know how to improve for my running future! I learned a ton!

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  5. OK - that is just darn cool! My first thought, I couldn't run for 6 minutes straight to do the test! haha!

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    1. Lol I bet you would be just fine! :0)

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  6. It's really interesting to see running form broken down like this. I'm a heel-to-mid-foot striker too depending on the day, the run, etc. But I'm definitely trying to up my cadence and not overstride. Thanks for sharing this. Really cool to see!

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    1. No problem at all! It's interesting how each day and run can bring different form. I imagine a good warm-up would help make finding your ideal stride a bit easier but some days are just 'off'!

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  7. That's a really cool way to analyze your running!

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  8. This is so cool!! I want to go get analyzed. I know I have some things I could definitely work on to become a stronger runner, I just don't know what those things are!

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    1. You definitely should. I would recommend it for all runners!

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  9. Great post! I've been looking forward to seeing this because I knew you'd include all the nitty gritty details (especially the pics - so helpful!). It's so helpful to actually see where your form is good / not so good and go through it with someone who can offer concrete tips for improving things. Did they recommend following up at some point or only if things don't get better? It'd be interesting to see how things changed over time with your strength training and cadence work!

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    1. Details are my specialty! :0)

      They did not say anything about needing to come back, but I am sure I could if I needed to. I imagine it is definitely a case by case basis!

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  10. I would love to have this done! I have to agree - increasing cadence and shortening stride will help you strike more midfoot. That's what I concentrate on. Your foot should land under you, not in front. Once I changed that, I had a lot less hip issues. I'm still super tight though. Glad you had this done, I'm sure it will really help you out!

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    1. I am surprised you still have tight hips considering all that yoga you've been doing!

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  11. I have a run gait analysis scheduled for this wek-looking forward to it.

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    1. I think you'll find it super helpful. I can't wait to hear how it goes!

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  12. Wow, this is really interesting! I'm glad to hear that you've figured out what caused the ITBS and hopefully a way to prevent it.

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