RS Podiatry Clinic

What is Gait Analysis and Why is it Important for Your Feet?

Gait analysis is the study of how you walk and run. It involves observing and measuring various aspects of your movement. This movement could be your foot strike, step length, stride width, cadence, and joint angles. The analysis can help you identify any abnormalities or inefficiencies in your gait that may cause pain, injury, or reduced performance.

Gait analysis is important for your feet because it can help you:

How Gait Analysis is Performed

Gait analysis can be performed in different ways, depending on the level of detail and accuracy required. Some of the methods include:

Visual observation:

As podiatrists, we are trained to watch you walk or run and evaluate your gait using our in-depth knowledge and experience. This is a quick and simple way to get a general idea of your gait pattern and potential issues.

Video analysis:

During analysis, a camera will record movement from different angles and the footage then slowed down and analysed. This allows for a more detailed and objective assessment of your gait and biomechanics.

Instrumented analysis:

Specialised equipment, such as force plates, pressure sensors, motion capture systems such as Run3D, and wearable devices, are used to measure various parameters of your gait. Parameters such as ground reaction forces, pressure distribution, joint angles, and muscle activity. This provides the most accurate, comprehensive data on your gait and can help diagnose specific problems and prescribe tailored interventions.

What are the Benefits?

Here are some examples of how Gait analysis can provide you with many benefits.

Finding the best shoes for your feet

Gait analysis can help you determine:

  • Your foot type (e.g., neutral, overpronated, or underpronated)
  • Your level of pronation (the inward or outward rolling of your foot during the gait cycle).

This can help you choose the right shoes that provide the optimal support, cushioning, and stability for your feet. For example, if you have overpronated feet, you may benefit from shoes that have more arch support and motion control features. If you have supinated feet, you may need shoes that have more cushioning and flexibility. However, there is no hard and fast rule here!

Preventing or treating foot pain and injuries

Analysis can help identify and correct abnormal or inefficient movements. These movements may cause stress or damage to your feet and lower limbs.

Example: if you have a heel strike pattern, you may be more prone to knee pain and lower back pain.

Gait analysis can help you adjust your foot strike, which can reduce the impact and load on higher up the body. Similarly, if you have excessive inward or outward rotation of your foot, you may be more susceptible to ankle sprains, shin splints, and knee pain. Gait analysis can help you improve alignment and stability in your foot and ankle, which can prevent or reduce these injuries.

Improving your performance and fitness

Gait analysis can help you optimise your running efficiency and speed by enhancing your biomechanics and technique.

Example: if you have a low cadence (the number of steps you take per minute), you may be wasting energy and increasing your fatigue.

Gait analysis can help you increase your cadence to a more optimal range, which can improve your turnover and pace. Likewise, if you have a long stride length, you may be overstriding and braking with each step, which can slow you down and increase your injury risk. Gait analysis can help shorten your stride length to a more optimal distance, which can reduce your ground contact time and increase propulsion.

3D Gait Analysis

How to Get a Gait Analysis?

If you are interested in getting a gait analysis, call or come into clinic for a free chat and discuss which option is best for you!

We offer a ‘spread the cost option’ if required. You will need to bring or wear comfortable clothing and shoes that you’d normally use for walking or running. You will be asked to walk or run on a treadmill or a track for a few minutes to be observed, and for your gait to be recorded, and measured. We can then do a range of musculoskeletal tests to understand the reasons why you’re gait pattern is the way it is. You will then receive a report and feedback on your gait and recommendations on how to improve it.

Gait analysis is a valuable tool that can help you understand your feet and improve your health and performance. If you have any questions or concerns about your gait, please contact us today to schedule an appointment.

We are here to help you achieve your goals and enjoy your activities without pain or injury.

There are some examples of analysis in action over on our Instagram – check it out here!

Find out more here, or get in touch for advice on your next steps.

Don’t just take our word for it…
We would highly recommend a visit to this clinic. A fantastic few appointments for our daughter with Ricky using the Run 3D gait laser analysis. What a programme!