Types of Gait Analysis
Most specialist running shops now offer a gait analysis service. Many charge a low fee and if you go on to buy a pair of shoes from them, they take the cost of the gait analysis off. This essentially gives you a gait analysis for free!
So you would be forgiven for being confused when specialist running companies such as ours, charge anywhere from £60 to £120 for a gait analysis service. What gives?
Well, not all is how it appears. The simplest way to highlight the difference is to point out that the running shops are using a very basic gait analysis as a sales tool to encourage you to buy a pair of shoes from them.
That’s not to say that this basic service isn’t of value or that the staff in the running shops aren’t knowledgeable – many of them are experts in their field with a wealth of experience. However, they are doing it for one reason and one reason only. You need to decide why you want to get gait analysis:
- To be recommended a pair of shoes that may work with how you run today but offers you nothing else.
- To identify current injury causes, improve your running and reduce your future injury risk.
If it is number 1, then the basic gait analysis from a shoe shop may be good enough. But please don’t think it will highlight areas for you to work on to improve your running or reduce your risk of future injury. Even if you are told that you have an issue (such as overpronating), you are highly unlikely to be told why this is the case and what you can do to fix it. Rather, you will be recommended a pair of shoes that will compensate for this apparent overpronation. But two things to keep in mind:
- Your shoes can’t fix how you run, but YOU can!
- Research has shown that misprescribing motion control shoes can cause a higher rate of injury
In 2009, a review of the available research concluded that “the prescription of [pronation control] shoe type to distance runners is not evidence based” (Richards et al, 2009). So to a certain extent, prescribing a particular type of shoe is purely based on what the manufacturers have told the shoe shops and not what any clinical research may say.
In addition, the gait analysis from the shoe shop will generally only either look at your feet, or at best from the knees down. Gait analysis from a professional looks at your entire body – running is actually a very complex set of coordinated (or not!) movements that involves far more than just feet and knees!
This is all a bit like continually putting sticky tape over a sticky plaster to keep it stuck over a blister that you get from shoes being too small. Wouldn’t it be better to get a pair of shoes that didn’t give you blisters?
And that bring me to the gait analysis service a specialist in running, like us, offers…
Why would you want to spend up to £120 on this type of service? It’s a lot of money, so you’ll be wanting value for that. OK, here’s why:
- According to recent research, up to 80% of runners will suffer a running related injury in every 12 month period.
- The average amount of time these injuries last is 8 weeks.
- Almost all of these injuries are preventable.
- Many of us spend at least £40 per session with a sports physio to help with these injuries. Our fully comprehensive RunTest assessment is only £79.
- A lot of the work physios do in their session is pain relief and soft tissue work. While a very valuable part of the process and absolutely necessary, the onus is often on you to find out why the injury happened (or keeps happening). In many cases, you are just sticking a plaster on a recurring wound rather than solving the problem at source.
The real, tangible benefits to you are:
- You find out what is really going on.
- You save on physio costs because you can now get the issue(s) fixed at source.
- You have the choice to sort the issue(s) yourself with a deeper understanding, or work with the professionals to deal with the root cause and not just the symptoms.
- You miss fewer races and you’ll enjoy running them more. We all know that we have to book and pay for races so far in advance these days – do you really want injury to cost you your race fee as well as additional physio?
Gait analysis from a shoe shop is a sales tool for the purpose of choosing a pair of shoes, not improving your running or reducing your injury risk. Indeed, if you are prescribed an incorrect pair of shoes, you can actually increase your injury risk.
Gait analysis from a running professional such as RunTeach, is designed to help identify the cause of current injuries, reduce future injury risk and to improve your running performance.
If you would like to find out more about our gait analysis services, please click here.
If you would like to talk to us about how we can help you improve your running or with injury prevention, please contact us here.