Recently, I noticed an odd dip while walking around in my running shoes. So, I sat down, took them off, and examined the soles—just as I suspected, they were worn out in exactly the same place that my running shoes always seem to wear out: the outside of my heels.
Time to investigate.
As it turns out, I over pronate, one of a few common gait inefficiencies among runners. And yet, up to that point, I’d just kind of lived with it.
Unfortunately, this might have been a big mistake.
Although gait deficiencies don’t always cause immediate pain or discomfort, they can, over time, lead to long-term complications. To avoid all that, I decided instead to go out and buy running shoes specifically designed for my kind of overpronation, and the results have been fantastic. Better form, less pain, and the confidence that comes with knowing I’m wearing the right shoe for my gait type.
But for a long time, I totally ignored my gait, and I’m guessing I’m not alone. So, if you’re ready to take a closer look at how you walk and run, here are three key tips for analyzing and (if necessary) correcting your gait.
Tip 1: Get a Proper Gait Analysis
This might seem like a no-brainer, but proper gait analysis requires a lot more than just a visual inspection. Some chains that sell running shoes, such as Road Runner Sports, offer digital gait analysis as part of their customer service offerings, then recommend the right shoe based on the results of this analysis. Pretty cool. When it comes to preventing injuries, identifying more complex abnormalities, and ironing out inefficiencies, though, you’ll probably require a more advanced option. Under these circumstances, a physical therapist might recommend an AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill, which uses real-time data and visual feedback to analyze and correct gait. This will provide detailed visual information about your form, as well as a specific path for correcting any inefficiencies or abnormalities that do exist.
Tip 2: Wear the Right Shoes
Now, that you’ve gotten a complete picture of your gait, what’s next? Footwear! (Come on, who doesn’t like to go shoe shopping once in a while?) In today’s market, there are walking and running shoes designed for every kind of runner, intensity level, and body type. Do you over pronate like me? There’s a good shoe for that. Or do you have a rigid foot and supinate too much? There’s a shoe for that, too. The key is to take your time, do your research, and get properly fitted, because the right shoe can make all the difference in the world.
Tip 3: Correct Your Gait with Physical Therapy
In some cases, especially when it comes to injury or gait abnormalities, it might be necessary to undergo a physical therapy program to decrease pain, rehabilitate, and correct problems with your gait. Not to worry! There are plenty of precision tools out there for measuring gait and offering precise, visual feedback so you can work with your therapist on correcting movement and living pain-free. One of those tools, the Via Anti-Gravity Treadmill® includes integrated Stride Smart technology, meaning you and your therapist will have all you need for effective gait therapy, right at your fingertips.
The thing is, everybody is different, and what might be true about someone else’s style of walking or running might not be true about yours. Heck, what might be true about someone who has the same gait deficiency might not be true for you! By taking the time to get analyzed, buy proper footwear, and go to physical therapy if necessary, you can effectively curb some of the long-term consequences of gait inefficiencies. Whether you are a long-distance runner or are just embarking on a regular walking program, the results can be immediately noticeable.