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Master your stride: Myokinetics' Guide to Gait Analysis & Running Mechanics for Optimal Performance

Updated: Mar 1

This weeks post has been written by our master of the dark arts of gait analysis - Estanis Berbegal , The Sports Injury Rehabilitator. In today's blog he'll explore why you need a gait analysis - for runners this should be a no-brainer, but for the rest of us with aches and pains there's alot of info we can get from watching the way you move. Let Estanis explain why...


A man runs on top of a park bench
Gait analysis can make your running feel literally effortless. Photo courtesy of Niyas Khan, Unsplach

What is gait analysis and what is it used for?

Gait analysis evaluates how the body moves from one location to another, commonly during walking or running. It identifies and corrects problems with posture, balance, and movement to prevent injuries and aid rehabilitation. This analysis offers insights into the mechanics of running and walking, enhancing mobility for those with abnormal gaits and optimizing performance for athletes.


Gait abnormalities involve unusual walking patterns that may result from disease or injury, causing pain in the feet, knees, ankles, back, or hips. Every step you take affects your entire body, with muscles playing a crucial role. Understanding foot strike, cadence, and stride patterns can lead to customized training regimens, increasing effectiveness and reducing the risk of overuse injuries.


What is your gait?

Imagine you're watching someone walk or run. The way they move their legs, arms, and body to go from one place to another is called their "gait." Everyone has their own unique way of moving when they walk or run and this can be as a result of injury, illness, the work that they do – lots of factors influence a person’s gait.


Gait is how we use our muscles and bones to walk smoothly and without falling. It's not just about putting one foot in front of the other; it's about how our whole body works together to keep us balanced and moving forward and it can tell us a lot about how our muscles and bones are working together.


The five stages of gait include:

  • Stance: When your foot hits the ground.

  • Loading: When your forefoot touches down.

  • Mid-stance: When your heel starts to lift.

  • Toe-off: When your foot leaves the ground.

  • Swing: When your foot moves forward before striking the ground again.

Why bother with a gait analysis?

A thorough gait analysis can help identify unhealthy habits that put undue stress on your body causing pain and discomfort, rectifying these habits can reduce the pain and discomfort. This can in turn dramatically alter the way you walk and run. If you are an athlete or sporty in any way, it can lead to a drastic improvement in your performance.


What does a gait analysis involve at Myokinetics?

Our gait & running mechanics analysis focus on how the body moves during running and walking. Data collection may involve specialized equipment, such as cameras or wearable sensors.


This analysis assists in:

  • Determining the cause of issues with muscles, nerves, or the skeleton.

  • Identifying the cause of a patient's pain when walking or standing.

  • Assisting in the diagnosis of skeletal malformations or abnormalities.

  • Identifying muscle or nerve dysfunction.

  • Monitoring the course of illnesses such as muscular dystrophy or arthritis.


At Myokinetics, we start the gait analysis by discussing your present running style, future goals, and any past injuries that might impact the analysis. The second step includes a basic visual inspection; you'll run on our treadmill for five to twenty minutes at a fast and steady speed (this may be video'd for further detailed analysis).


This visual inspection enables us to examine your landing technique, landing location, and any biomechanical misalignments in your ankles, knees, and hips. We observe how your lower limbs move, along with the rest of your posture, including the position of your head and arms.

One of our therapists will note your foot angle, step length, stride width, and other gait metrics. Since there's no such thing as a "normal gait," understanding how you move your body requires careful examination.


Your therapist will discuss with you the findings of their analysis and make suggestions for remedial steps that you should implement to begin to address the issues found. With your commitment to a programme of stretching or strengthening exercises and a small number of progress check-ins, clients can begin to see results in as little as four weeks, with definite progress by week twelve.


DISCLAIMER: you get what you give. If you put in the effort to make change then you will get a change. This means following your therapist's instructions as regards exercises, implementation, frequency and intensity.


How does gait influence pain or performance?

Your gait not only affects your ankles and lower legs but can also significantly impact the rest of your body. For example, the angle of your lower legs and ankle can pull on your knees, potentially causing knee pain after extended runs for those with significant under- or over-pronation.


The way your weight settles on your hips with each stride can also be influenced by your gait. This weight may tug on your low back, causing strain or damage while your hips adjust to support it. To alleviate back pain, you might unknowingly adopt bad posture, further straining your neck and shoulders.


An effective running technique can reduce the chance of injury and have a positive impact on performance. Good form improves overall speed and endurance while lowering energy expenditure. Maintaining proper running form is crucial for maximizing efficiency and avoiding long-term stress on muscles and joints.


In conclusion, gait analysis is good for you!

As a non-invasive detection technique, gait analysis is helpful in diagnosing specific medical issues, determining if additional testing is necessary, and shedding light on potential courses of therapy.


Myokinetics has assisted numerous runners by identifying deficient running mechanics, safely treating and correcting them through training, and improving their performance for exceptional results in regional and national events.


If you have specific questions or need advice, please feel free to ask! Comment below and we'll get back to you. And if you want a gait analysis book a 'Pain & Injury Assessment' with Estanis noting at the time of booking that you specifically want a gait analysis.

Estanis Berbegal – The Sport Injury Rehabilitator


February 2024


Disclaimer please note well: The information provided on this health and well-being blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, treatment, or guidance. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this blog. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or the emergency services immediately.


The authors of this blog are not medical professionals, and the content provided here is based on personal experiences, research, and general knowledge. It is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional for individual health concerns. The use of any information provided on this blog is solely at your own risk. The authors, contributors, and the website owner disclaim any responsibility for any adverse effects resulting directly or indirectly from the information provided.

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