If you are getting inspired by the Olympics coverage and looking for ways that you could improve your running performance, it could be time to head to the podiatrist for gait analysis. Here are some ways that gait analysis can help a budding runner.
Identifying the right running shoes for each runner
Different running shoes provide more or less support to different parts of the foot, which can help to make running much better on your body. It's hard to know which type of shoes to get when you wander into a busy sports shoes store so getting advice from a podiatrist can be extremely useful. In addition to identifying the right type of running shoe, the podiatrist can, if required, suggest some inserts to place in the shoe to further support the foot.
Identifying biomechanical issues within the lower leg
In some cases issues with the foot can stem from other leg issues such as tightness in the achilles tendon. Gait analysis can help to identify biomechanical issues in the leg so that these can be treated early. Fixing these issues can improve the overall efficiency of the runner's steps as well as prevent the injuries that can occur later when an biomechnical issue is left untreated. Often an injured or weakened area leads to overloading on another part of the leg, which can result in overuse or injury in that area.
Advising on correct running form
In some cases a perfectly healthy and well supported foot can still get injured if the runner has a particularly inefficient or dangerous running style. This can be hard to observe when running a long race, but by visiting a sports podiatrist, you can get a chance to observe the gait in detail, and the podiatrist can point out any parts of the stride that need to be modified. It can be tricky to change the natural running style, but if you are planning on running competitively and keeping to an ambitious training schedule, it can be important to identify any technique issues and correct these early on to make sure your performance is as good as it can be.
If you are looking to improve your running style, it can be very useful to go to podiatrist and get your running gait analysed. This can help you to chose the right shoes, correct any injuries or weaknesses in your lower leg or foot, and get advice on correct running form.