If you’re a runner, you know buying the perfect pair of running shoes requires asking yourself a lot of questions – do you have high arches or low arches? Do you supinate or pronate? Do you need maximum support or minimal support? The list goes on and on!

The secret to answering this long list of questions is understanding your gait, or how you move when running. Improving your gait can help runners perform better and prevent injuries. Keith Tesch, a certified strength and conditioning specialist at ATI Physical Therapy, dropped in to discuss how video gait analysis can not only improve a runner’s race times, but their overall health as well.

Getting to know your gait: Okay, we’ll back up here a little bit. For those of who aren’t seasoned runners (much less medal contenders at the highest levels of competition), your “gait” is simply the movement of your limbs. In this case, runners must pay special attention to their gait. For example, if a runner begins to pronate (turning the heel inward and therefore flattening out the arch), they could be susceptible to a slew of issues, from shin splints to tendentious.

How it works: For example, at ATI, we use Dartfish Technology’s video gait analysis software. After taping someone running, a trained video gait analyst (like Keith) can review a runner’s form and help find ways to improve their gait and reduce their risk for injury.

Who uses it: Runners are the primary audience for the analysis, but it’s also helpful for those with ACL reconstruction or any lower extremity surgery to help reteach them how to properly run after surgery.

What it helps with:

1. Increases range of motion

2. Decreases pain caused by misuse

3. Reduces muscle tightness

4. Fixes imbalances of strengthen and flexibility

5. Reduces overall risk of injury

Are you an avid runner and need some direction on your gait? Contact your closest ATI Physical Therapy clinic today!