What is a Gait Analysis?

Gait TypesOne of the first things we ask our customers at the Ridgewood Running Company is would you like a gait analysis? Many customers really aren’t sure what a gait analysis is or what exactly is being analyzed so I thought I’d try to break it down for you.

By definition gait means: 1. manner of walking or running; bearing 2. (Individual Sports & Recreations / Horse Training, Riding & Manège) (used esp of horses and dogs) the pattern of footsteps at various speeds, as the walk, trot, canter, etc., each pattern being distinguished by a particular rhythm and footfall (Source: www.thefreedictionary.com).

So what does this mean? When you hop on our treadmill we are looking specifically at your feet. A full gait analysis may include your entire bio-mechanics (your hips, chest, head, etc.) but with our resources we focus on your feet. Based on how your feet land on the treadmill we are able to recommend a stability shoe or a neutral shoe.

There are three basic positions a runners gait falls and they are:

1. Over pronation – this is when a runner lands on the inner half of their foot and their ankle crashes inward.
2. Neutral – this position is when the runner lands pretty much in the middle of their foot, on the forefoot.

3. Supination – this position is when a runner lands on the outer third of their foot.

When a runner over pronates they are using their stabilizing muscles in a more demanding matter which may cause the muscles to become fatigued faster than if they landed in a neutral position. The point of a stability shoe is to put your foot back in that proper neutral position to try and enhance proper bio-mechanics throughout your entire body. A stability shoe does this by putting a support post on the inside of the shoe. Some examples of these stability shoes are the Asics Gel Kayano 20, the Brooks Adrenaline 14 and the New Balance 1260.

Again, these are just recommendations that we can make for you. This isn’t written in stone that ever over-pronator needs to be in a stability shoe. As a running specialty store we are hear to recommend what we think may be best for you. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask us. If there is something you don’t understand about the analysis keep in mind there are no stupid questions. We are always here to help and remember a gait analysis is always FREE at the Ridgewood Running Company!

-Jason

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