Running can be fun for the whole family. In fact, this Sunday kids and adults will be participating in the Grand Slam 5k and 10k races at Empire Ranch in Carson City to support youth baseball throughout the Carson Valley. But running can also a challenge, and even elite runners can struggle repeatedly with injuries like shin splints, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and more. That’s where a gait analysis can provide a major benefit.
Your gait involves the whole process by which you walk, run, or move from one place to another, and it can vary significantly between two different people. The angle your legs and feet make while standing or during a stride, whether you over- or under-pronate, how much your hips move, what part of your foot strikes the ground first—all these and more are part of you biomechanics and gait cycle. Learning more about your own gait can help you understand why certain injuries may be occurring. It may also teach you how you might avoid them in the future, so that you can run longer and healthier with less pain.
In a gait analysis, a professional observes how your feet, ankles, legs, knees, and hips move and interact as you walk or run (usually on a treadmill, in front of a video camera). Your strength and flexibility may also be tested with various exercises.
The goal of all this observation is not simply to assess trouble spots, but also to derive solutions. For example, sore knees that bend too far in or out may be corrected by strengthening gluteal muscles. Stress fractures caused by over-striding may be prevented by shortening your stride and quickening your cadence. Pronation problems may be addressed with specialized footwear or custom orthotics.
Although analyzing your gait obviously benefits serious or recreational runners, those who play other sports or simply want to be able to walk longer or further without pain may benefit, too. We may discover problems that can be corrected with shoes, equipment, or physical therapy.
If you’re just getting into running, struggling with frequent running-related injuries, or just want to reduce foot pain as you walk from place to place, a gait analysis may be right for you. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Victoria L. Melhuish, DPM in Gardnerville, NV by dialing (775) 783-8037, or by contacting us online.
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