When your body moves forward, either running or walking, your posture and mechanics position you at a certain angle to the ground. Your feet, in turn, make contact with the earth in response to the approach of your legs. The method an individual uses to take forward steps, called gait or running form, can in some cases damage the body.
Common ways that runners place undue stress on the body include when their feet move toward one another, when their strides are abbreviated or elongated, or when there is extraneous arm motion. As the stress is repeated, the chance of injury increases.
An informational article offered in May by Amanda Gordon, MPT (master of physical therapy), of the Cleveland Clinic discusses the prevention of form-related health conditions. For those suffering from runner’s knee, gait analysis by a physical therapist can help point the way to recovery.
Solving your knee pain through form
A corrected gait can increase comfort, keep you healthy, reduce the amount of energy you need to expend, and even drop your marathon time by a few minutes.
However, it’s not easy to see ways in which your own running form might be misaligned. As Gordon notes, “It’s just hard to see your own patterns.” A physical therapist can help a runner by conducting a gait analysis.
The analysis could utilize imaging such as video and otherwise gauge the way your limbs move at full pace. It can help you to develop a more aerodynamic approach. Meanwhile, you can determine what might be causing any pain and avoid runner’s knee.
Combat knee pain with gait analysis
When a physical therapist studies your gait, they consider the following elements:
- Background and development of running form
- Conditioning objectives
- Pattern of steps
- Degradation of footwear
- Fitness level
- Impact of the heel
- Motion in the upper extremities
- Coordination between the hips, knees, and feet (since knee pain results when these aren’t properly in sync).
Takeaways from the analysis
Once the physical therapist has finished their study of your form, they will give you exercises to improve your power and range of motion. The therapist will also explain any aberrations in your gait that might be contributing to runner’s knee or any other conditions.
When the process is complete, you should be able to run in a manner that both retains energy and minimizes the possibility of injury and chronic pain.
Gait analysis is just one of the many nonsurgical solutions for knee pain and injury recovery offered by Health Star Clinic. Several of our patients have expressed their appreciation of our practice on Google. One wrote, “The staff and Dr. West were very friendly and… helped me to regain my ability to function normally.”