What is Gait Analysis?

Gait analysis is the study of human walking patterns, involving the observation and measurement of various aspects of the gait cycle. It is conducted to assess how a person walks, identifying any abnormalities or inefficiencies in their movement.

There are two main types: clinical, which involves visual observation and manual assessments by healthcare professionals, and instrumented, which employs technology such as motion capture systems and force plates to collect quantitative data on parameters like joint angles and ground reaction forces. The analysis helps in diagnosing and addressing issues related to walking, guiding interventions for rehabilitation, sports performance, and orthopedic considerations.

My Calf Strain

Back in November I strained the calf in my right leg during a training session whilst on the prowler push. The calf did improve over the following few weeks but it wasn’t getting fully back to normal. Coach Ken had been suggesting for some time that I should get a Gait Analysis done but I felt I should wait until the calf was fine again. Ken suggested that my footwear could indeed be aggravating my calf injury and so I made an appointment to visit Run Preston, in Preston, owned by Paul.

Paul has over 35 years of running experience having gained his first International honours at the age of 22. He has been Lancashire, North of England, National and World Champion at a range of events from 5k to Half Marathon and still competes and trains most days. He’s also a qualified sports therapist, so the ideal person to visit about my ongoing calf niggles.

The Analysis

As Paul says: “We are looking at the movement of the 26 bones in the foot. They all form to create the arch and the arch is flexible to help reduce impact when walking and running etc. Simply put, if the foot is ‘very’ flexible it may roll inwards (often referred to as over-pronation), a shoe with the correct support helps reduce this movement and keep the weight spread evenly across the width of the foot and the ankle, knee and hips aligned.

The Result

There was no doubting the new Brooks trainers felt better from the moment I put them on but the real test was going to be back on the treadmill at the gym. So, 4.30pm I headed over there and stepped onto the treadmill. From the moment I pressed “GO” I could feel the difference. I sent Ken a message to say that it “already feels so much better”. 50 minutes later and another message to Ken “and we’re back. No issues. Feels better than ever!”

To ensure this wasn’t a one-off I went back to the gym in the morning for another treadmill session. This time I was able to push my pace to 8% beyond any I had previously managed on the treadmill and again knocked out a 5km session with no sign of a calf injury.

Needless to say, I’ll be visiting Run Preston and talking to Paul whenever I need advice and to buy my running shoes going forward.

Run Preston – 17 Northway, Preston PR3 5JX
Be sure to check the website for opening times.

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