How’s my running? – Gait Analysis

How’s my running? – Gait Analysis

December 16, 2018 0 By Stuart

I’ve been having recurring issues with my right ankle this year. Nothing too bad, but enough to make me stop running for a couple of weeks for it to disappear (Injury woes). Then 2 weeks ago it moved up into my hip. No a major searing pain, but enough after half a mile that I turned round for home to avoid doing any more damage.

Deciding enough was enough I started searching for some professional help. Having been to a physio before I knew that I wanted a running specific physio this time. The last guy was fine in general, but only on the immediate problem, didn’t seem to have any real interest in looking into why it had flared up.

As it’s the 2010’s searching mean hitting up Google and Bing. Found a lot of physios who mentioned they treated running injuries, but the one that caught my eye was KH Physiotherapy in Kimberly. In particular their gait analysis looked just the job. 90 minutes of checking physiology and running style sounded like just the thing to reassure me that I was running well, or that I needed to fix some fundamentals.

Session started off with Kerstine getting a bit of background on me, my current issue and any other older injuries that might be relevant (I’ve a long history of falling off of bikes, or just falling over for that matter).

Strength, balance and mobility

Once that was down it was time to get into some running kit for some physical testing. Kerstine checked me for the general mobility issues. Squats, knee lifts and other were mostly good. Then started involving single legs and hip movements, and things started to look less good.

My balance is not great to start with, which was one reason for starting yoga. And once I was moving one one leg, either hip drops or single leg squats it was obvious that my right side was a lot worse than my left hand side.

A good prod and bend on the table seemed to indicate that my glutes could do with some extra strength on that side. In particular my Gluteus Minimus. Who knew we had more than one ‘Glute’ on each side? I’d always assumed glute was plural as we had one in each cheek.

Another piece of news was that the glute brdges I’d been doing may not have been doing much. Due to my cycling and running I was probably compensating with hamstrings and not activating my glutes. So the suggestions for fixing this was:

  • Single leg squats
  • Banded walks
  • Side leg raises with the leg behind the central line

Gait Analysis

And now onto the treadmill to give my running style the once over. This was all videoed so we could step through it in slow motion. First off I just ran at a my steady pace (~8:00 minutes per mile) in my normal style

From the rear you could see that I running very ‘narrow’ with my feet crossing the centre line. This mean my hips were having to do extra stabilising work to keep me upright, and there’s quite an obvious rocking motion across them while I’m running

From the side, it looks even worse:

What I though was a nice forefoot strike turned out to be heel striking with a straight leg! And over striding as well:

And it’s not much better at the other end as I’m barely lifting during the follow through either:

To add to the list of woes there is also:

  • Leading with chin
  • Lots of bounce
  • Lack of arm movement
  • Hips too far back

Fixing it all

Kerstine gave me some cues to concentrate on to fix these:

  • Stand up straighter, feel like I’m being pulled up through my head. 
  • Lead with the hips, should move my centre of gravity forwards and reduce the chances of overstriding
  • Increase cadence to 165 spm. Shorter lighter steps should stop the overstriding,
  • More arm movement. Legs follows the arms, so if I move my arms quicker then my legs should move quicker
  • Lift ankles to improve my follow through
  • Run wider, imaging a ball between my knees.

Doing all of this required quite a bit of concentration and thinking about it, but I just about managed it. And the end result does look more like a proper runner:

Foot is landing much more under my hips, the trailing leg comes through with more purpose and there’s less bounce

Post analysis

I really recommend getting something like this done, really glad I did it. It’s put my mind at rest that there’s nothing fundamental wrong with my running style, it just needs a bit of work.

Having a focused set of exercises and cues is really great. Trying to Google for answers had given me a near endless list of exercises to do, I’d have spent more time on a mat than I would have running. 

On the treadmill it’s not too bad putting it all together as there’s no worry about the running surface, other trail users, random dogs or cars crossing roads in front of me. The trick is going to be putting them into action during my training. Been gradually introducing them, and I’ll be feeding back over the winter how they’re going.

Hopefully you’ve got someone near you who offers this service. And if you’re in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire or there abouts then I’d recommend give Kerstine a call to set up an appointment