Common misconceptions about Gait & Running Analysis
- The more expensive the shoe the better – The most expensive pair isn’t necessarily the right pair for you, so don’t be tempted into thinking that a higher price always equals a better shoe. Sometimes the most inexpensive shoe can be ideal for your gait or foot type. In addition, if you are using orthotics this can effect the shoe type that you should wear.
- If the shoes are comfortable to walk in they are the correct shoes to run in – Shoes that might feel comfortable to you when walking about the shop won’t necessarily feel that way when running, so make sure that you always purchase the shoes that are suitable for your foot type.
- You Must Take Small, Quick Steps – The way you run naturally is usually the best way for you. The recommendation to take small steps is a way to avoid something called overstriding, where your foot reaches “too far” in front of your body. This can lead to an increase in the shock your foot needs to absorb when it hits the ground, reducing your efficiency as it slows you down and results in an increase in the effort and energy use needed to maintain a running cycle. Both of these facts result in raising your risk of injury.
As for taking quick steps, that comes from running coach Jack Daniels, who noticed that Olympic distance runners at the 1984 Olympics tended to maintain a stride rate, or “cadence,” of at least 180 steps per minute. When they’re pushing to win, elite runners can reach the low 200s on a marathon and the low 300s on a sprint. Experts generally agree that a cadence lower than 160 is a recipe for injury, but that leaves a lot of wiggle room for the rest of us.
- Barefoot shoes are perfect for a natural running style – Barefoot shoes force the runner to run on his or her forefoot, where only the balls of the feet make contact with the ground. This technique places high demands on your muscles and puts a lot of impact on your ankles and knees. Many recreational runners lack the necessary stabilizing muscles to be able to run in barefoot running shoes for a long time without developing problems.
Runners more accustomed to traditional running shoes will, therefore, need longer to get used to these new models. Otherwise, they risk injury. Barefoot shoes can be a useful tool for altering and optimizing your running technique. But these models aren’t really suited for your daily long-distance run.
- The only differences between men’s and women’s running shoes are the design and the color – These days, many sporting goods manufacturers offer special running shoes for women and men. The female foot is – in contrast to the male foot – smaller, narrower, more flexible, and takes up much less volume. In addition, men and women differ in terms of body weight and overall motor control. All these differences are taken into account in the design of different running shoe models: The heel of a women’s running shoe, for example, has a lighter and more flexible out and midsole. Other parts of the shoe are also gender-specific in terms of construction, cushioning and fit.
- Children should wear supportive shoes once they begin walking – Humans are born to walk and run. This means our feet are actually designed for barefoot running. Unfortunately, we have lost this ability for many reason, one of which is from wearing sturdy shoes daily and too soon before the structures such as ligaments, muscles and joints in our feet have developed sufficient strength to perform their job. Therefore, if toddlers and young children wear overly supportive shoes, the shoes take over much of the stabilising work that the body should be providing by using muscles, joints and ligaments. We would not put wrist supports and gloves on a toddler to encourage their wrists and hands to develop correctly, so why do it for their feet.
- Light shoes are faster – Faster running times mainly depend on your body weight, training level and running form. Very light running shoes can overtax the body of novice runners who do not possess the necessary muscular stability. The lack of stability can pose problems for runners. In this case, heavier shoes would be better because they provide better guidance of the foot.At Tyrrell Physiotherapy, Swords, Gait Analysis & Running Analysis are offered by our chartered specialist Gerard Tyrrell MISCP.
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