Finding the best running shoes is one of the biggest difficulties faced by various athletes. If you are an athlete looking to improve your mileage, you need to understand what it entails to have the right running shoes. However, the initial things to ponder is the running gait and gait cycle. This involves how you run so that you can choose the correct shoes. It also helps to know the pronation patterns, which explains your foot’s inward roll while the foot heel hits the ground.
Here are the 3 ways to check and analyze your running gait.
You need to understand when your foot strikes the ground. It is commonly known as initial contact phase of the running gait whereby your knee should flex just before hitting the ground as the foot pronates, meaning both the leg and foot act as shock absorbers. This is the time when the foot and heel should be flexible to accommodate the nature of the terrain. However, it may vary from one runner to another because a typical runner may land forefoot and midfoot first without the heel hitting the ground. Another gait cycle phase is the midstance whereby the leg and foot stabilize the body weight because the foot is not pronating at this time.
Alright, let’s look at the three categories of running gait.
This is considered as the steadiest and most consistent stride pattern because it involves a natural pronation whereby the foot arch receives a full compensation.
This is when your foot rolls in exceptionally, or occasionally when it shouldn’t. There is much body weight transferred to the inner foot or medial side of your foot. As you run forward, there is a load created by the foot’s inner edge rather than the foot’s ball. This means your foot will be destabilized and will attempt to resume stability through compensating for the inward motion.
Also known as supination, which means there is the lack of pronation and the runner’s foot rolls excessively towards the out-step of a stride. The outer shoe heel is likely to have extreme wear while the upper part of the shoe is pushed over to the side.
Video Running Gait Analysis
Video gait analysis is another perfect technique to learn your running habit, which in turn helps find the right running shoe. It involves a few minutes run while someone is recording a video of your feet. The video is played at a slower speed to allow easy analysis of the details and explain the results, usually done by a professional. The results help a runner to try several running shoes by choosing maximum support, structured cushioning, or a typical cushioning based on the findings.
Apart from feet analysis to help select the right shoes, the video can also be used to analyze legs and body movement. This helps a runner to make necessary changes in order to increase efficiency in running. Also, the professional can study various stages and then identify specific movements that can trigger injuries.
3D foot Mapping
This is the most advanced alternative to the video running gait analysis. 3D foot mapping uses both micro cameras and lasers to produce a more detailed 3D image and video of your foot. A wide range of information is obtained including a scan of arch height and Achilles alignment with your leg. This information is analyzed and used to find the best running shoes. In addition, the information can be analyzed to give hints about the causes of regular foot injuries.
Though 3D foot mapping is quite effective in analyzing runners’ feet, it’s not available in many running clinics and athlete equipment stores. If you are a professional runner, you can find out with your coach to know if there is a local store that offers 3D foot mapping services. It is an ideal way to understand your running gait and then choose the perfect running shoes for your feet.
In conclusion, running gait analysis provides crucial information about running styles of different runners. It helps understand a runner’s level of pronation, as well as checking your leg and body motion to identify areas that may require adjustments in order to increase running efficiency. The main objective is to find the correct running shoes for a more comfortable running experience. So, it can help reduce often injuries caused by wrong shoe types.