Gait Analysis: Why It’s a Must for Serious Runners
Posted by Jenn F. on Thursday, October 9th, 2014
Is running a dangerous sport? Are overuse injuries inevitable? The experts say, “no.” While injury rates among runners have been cited as high as 50 or 90 percent, it doesn’t have to be that way, says Dr. Josef Geldwert from The Center for Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine in NYC. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Gait analysis is the best injury prevention tool in the sports medicine field.
“Over the past six years, the foot doctors at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine have measured motion using a treadmill with 5,000 pressure-force sensors and a video camera hooked to a computer,” Dr. Geldwert explains. “The treadmill captures, tracks and analyzes the pressure and force of each step. This identifies where a person’s structural imperfections originate so that a specific treatment plan can be devised.”
Why Is Gait Analysis Essential for Serious Runners?
A recent article published in the Wall Street Journal spells out just what gait analysis can do for the avid runner. It tells the story of a 37-year-old personal trainer and triathlon coach who suffered a stress fracture in her left shin, which put her in an orthopedic boot for six weeks in 2010 and four weeks in 2013. After seeking gait analysis in NYC, she found out that she had hyper-mobile hips and an unstable stride. When a video of her running was slowed down on a computer, it was discovered that she tended to take big strides and land on the insides of her feet. She began running on a treadmill in front of a mirror while imagining that she was running on narrow railroad tracks. She strengthened her glutes, shortened her stride, and sped up her cadence. She has completed two triathlons and a 200-mile relay without injury.
Are you a “bouncy” runner? Do you land too hard on your heels? Do your ankles roll inward or outward? Is your knee twisting? Is your leg too straight upon impact? All of these subtle-yet-injury-producing abnormalities can be detected using gait analysis. Aside from just observing any gait abnormalities, the analysis also assists in identifying the cause of any pain or problems the runner may be having. It provides another aspect to the physical examination to help NYC sports medicine doctors better understand the patient’s condition and recommend treatments. Patient history and current medical conditions are still taken into great consideration, despite the technological strength of the computerized process. More often than not, treatment is a matter of strength-training certain areas of the body and paying closer attention to stride rhythms for treatment. Sometimes orthotic devices can be designed to correct the imbalances.
What Is Gait Analysis like?
“Our gait analysis procedure is designed to measure a patient’s step length, stride length, cadence and cycle time, as well as the joint angle measurements,” Dr. Geldwert says. “This is all observed at a normal walking speed and at high speeds to determine whether certain activities are recurring or abnormal.”
The doctor relies on several procedures to take important measurements, including:
– Foot step analysis: measured by sensors on a mat, which calculate walking pattern and speed, stride length, and step time.
– Force and pressure measurements: creates images of force and pressure exertion while walking by measuring plates in the floor.
– Slow motion video: slow motion cameras allow for a more detailed analysis of biomechanics.
The gait analysis procedure takes about an hour. One should wear shorts and normal athletic footwear to the appointment. Medical history will be discussed, so it is important to bring any relevant medical records and test results to share. The doctor will perform strength and flexibility evaluations by manipulation on an exam table and by having the patient run and walk on a treadmill in front of a video camera. Patients must be able to take ten consecutive steps without any assistance in order to achieve effective results. In the end, runners leave with a written evaluation detailing how to train pain-free or treat any anomalies discovered at home.
Why Come to Us for NYC Gait Analysis?
“We have performed hundreds of gait analysis over the years and have found the analysis beneficial in rooting out biomechanical imperfections that are contributing to injury and pain,” says Dr. Geldwert. Our system is state-of-the-art, using the most updated and relevant tools in the sports medicine industry. Our experienced doctors are equipped to offer conservative and all-natural therapies, as well as surgical interventions or modern ultrasound treatments if necessary. Best of all, we offer a friendly smile and positive attitude, alongside the in-depth knowledge that comes with years of medical training and experience treating injuries at New York marathons, triathlons, and Olympic running events. Book gait analysis in New York City here.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.