A gait analysis is not just running on a treadmill at a running shoe store to help you choose shoes that work best for your feet and your sport. Rather, it is an extensive, complex, scientific way of evaluating your foot and leg biomechanics as you stand and move about.
This evaluation is helpful in two main disciplines: in the sports field, for increasing the efficiency of your movements, and in the medical field, for identifying the sources of foot conditions and pronation patterns that can lead to pain and limited mobility. Both can be helpful for runners to improve performance and lessen the risk of injury.
The process is often done at a research lab, where it can involve a multitude of tools: force plates, cameras to capture motion in 3-D and slow motion, electromyography to detect muscle activation, devices to measure footfall parameters and speed, those which determine joint flexibility, arch height or stability, and one that provides a 3-D scan of your foot.
This wealth of data is extremely helpful to pinpoint problem areas in your stride, but it needs to be interpreted by someone with a thorough knowledge of foot and ankle structure and behavior. Our podiatrists have just that. All of our medical training was done through the lens of how it applies to the lower extremities, and over our years in practice, we have seen and treated all types of foot issues. We understand how feet are supposed to work, and how we can help them do so.
An analysis of your pronation pattern can show whether custom orthotics could help rebalance your feet during your stride to eliminate stress and pain. We can also see how your movements may waste energy and making you a less efficient runner. You need to be careful when changing anything in your gait pattern, to make sure the alteration doesn’t have negative consequences elsewhere in your body. We can help you do so safely.
If you need to get to the bottom of pain in your feet and ankles, or want to know whether abnormalities in your stride are increasing your injury risk, call Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona. You can reach our office in Chandler at (480) 963-9000 or in Gilbert at (480) 981-1800 to schedule an appointment. We will help you decide if a gait analysis can improve your running.