The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Technology in Sports Medicine: How Gait Analysis Can Protect You from Chronic Injuries

Posted by on Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

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Writer and runner Jenn Savedge from Mother Nature News recently wrote about the merits of professional gait analysis, a service we offer here at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City. “Want a humbling experience?” she asked. “Watch yourself run. In slow-motion. Using 3-D imagery. In front of a roomful of young Ph.D.s and graduate students.” While it may seem like a process that could potentially make you feel self-conscious, gait analysis can offer a lot of insight on your habits as a runner, and help you make any necessary modifications.
gait analysis lab
A gait analysis lab like this one makes a great starting point for maintaining a long, healthy running career.
Image Source: uj.ac.za

Glut of Runner Injuries Indicate Need for Gait Analysis

Why get a gait analysis, you ask? Well, for starters — gait analysis is a key tool in preventing injury. A widely cited statistic is that 79% of runners get injured any given year.

Common injuries include:

– Patellofemoral pain (aka “Runner’s Knee”)

– Right ankle dorsiflexion injury

– “Knock knees,”

– Hallux varus foot pain

Running may seem as simple as putting one foot before the other, but sport participants need quality sneakers, flat terrain, and good habits that persist over time to stay in shape. It’s all too easy to miss wear-and-tear on your footwear or fall into sloppy mechanics when fatigue sets in. That’s where gait analysis can help.

running injuries
Running may seem like a relatively “easy” sport, but injuries are prevalent.
Image Source: DimityDavis.Wordpress.com

Is Gait Analysis Worth It?

At face value, one might scoff at the $150 to $350 price tag of gait analysis, but when you consider the money spent on massages, chiropractor visits, physical therapy sessions, high-tech running shoes, compression socks, KT tape, and other performance-enhancing buys, you can consider gait analysis to be “a drop in the proverbial bucket,” as Jenn Savedge points out.

gait analysis
Gait analysis is a high-tech way of assessing your body mechanics to improve performance and prevent injury.
Image Source: Healthynomics.com

What Happens at Gait Analysis

At a typical gait analysis appointment, we’ll place markers on key points on your body that will measure resistance, joint movement, and running stride. At the Center, our foot doctors will put you on a treadmill that contains 5,000 pressure and force sensors that will identify areas of structural imperfection while you do lunges, squats, toe-touches, walk, and run. We’ll analyze the length of your step and stride, cadence, cycle time, and joint angle movements. We can show you video analysis that includes multiple angles and slow-motion.

We’ll not only let you know about areas of concern, but we’ll also give you pointers for improvement that will not only help you run faster but also avoid injury. Maybe you run with a slight arch in your spine or have ankles that roll inward. There are many subtle, eye-opening inefficiencies that could take their toll on your body over time.

Over the course of an hour, the podiatrists at our NYC sports medicine clinic will show you daily exercises to relieve tension, fine-tune your running form, and improve mobility. Armed with video footage, checklists, and graphs, you will have an expert opinion on the way your body moves.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. 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.