Running Gait

person climbing concrete stairs

Running gait is important to consider in relation to running injuries. We often see lots of different running styles but what are some of the signs to look out for and how do we change this?

What are classic signs of possible issues?

  • Overstriding
    • Landing out-with centre of mass
    • Overpronation/supination
    • Increase in injuries
  • Do we need to change gait?
    • Not if there’s no issues
    • May reduce injury risk (Chan et al., 2017)
    • May improve running economy and performance (Folland et al., 2017)
  • How do we make changes in gait?
    • If you’re making changes, make them very slowly
    • Overstriding- aim to reduce stride length and increase step-rate
    • Simple cues e.g. run softly and take smaller steps
    • Make any changes very gradually e.g. 2 mins at end of a run
silhouette of three women running on grey concrete road
Everyone’s needs are different
  • Are there any downsides?
    • Adopting new foot-striking patterns will alter loading in tissues
    • May increase risk of issues with calf/achilles
    • May become too obsessive with running pattern
  • What about support shoes or insoles/orthotics?
    • Everyone’s needs are different
    • They can help change loading in tissues
    • Find what works for you
    • Here is a useful video by Salomon TV to help when picking running shoes:
  • So what do I need to take away from this?
    • Don’t change if there’s no issues
    • If you decide to make changes, make them gradually
    • There will be variations in gait, everyone is different
    • This only forms part of a rehabilitation plan
    • Seek physiotherapist advice for further information

References

Chan, Z.Y., Zhang, J.H., Au, I.P., An, W.W., Shum, G.L., Ng, G.Y. and Cheung, R.T., 2018. Gait retraining for the reduction of injury occurrence in novice distance runners: 1-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. The American journal of sports medicine46(2), pp.388-395.

Folland, J.P., Allen, S.J., Black, M.I., Handsaker, J.C. and Forrester, S.E., 2017. Running technique is an important component of running economy and performance. Medicine and science in sports and exercise49(7), p.1412.