Can Gait Analysis Lead to Better Performance?

When your clients pick up their feet to walk or run, chances are good they don’t think much about running efficiency, load distribution, movement analysis, biomechanics, or even injury risk. True, coaches and top-tier athletes probably consider these things, but your average hobby runner, clinical patient, or college athlete likely has other things on their mind.

Unfortunately, not thinking about such things means they lose a valuable opportunity to increase athletic performance, speed rehabilitation time, prioritize injury reduction, and ensure healthy and stable movement patterns. That’s where gait analysis comes in.

Whether the goal is to create better training plans, test orthotics and footwear, fine-tune injury prevention strategies at your athletic facility or private coaching practice, or leverage the newest sports science technologies, gait analysis is critical. It allows the clinician to track movement patterns and isolate problems like never before, using sensor-based equipment that paints a more detailed picture than the human eye could ever capture.

In other words, analyzing gait is a can’t-miss step in optimizing human performance, so if you’re not yet doing it, your clients are missing out.

We will look at what gait analysis is, its equipment and variations, and the benefits you can expect from incorporating it into your practice today.


Understanding Gait Analysis

Gait analysis is critical to increasing athletic performance, reducing injury, speeding rehabilitation time, and ensuring healthy walking and running patterns. Unfortunately, many training facilities and clinics still aren’t using this technology, meaning their patients and athletes have to make do with educated guesses about what’s happening on their feet.

Gait analysis is quite simple. It involves inserting sensor insoles in shoes or runway sensors so that each step an athlete takes creates a real-time pressure reading gathered from hundreds of sensor points. These readings are then translated into an image that conveys an accurate picture of movement while walking, running, or standing.


Different Types of Gait Analysis

Gait analysis can offer a wide variety of information types. What kind you need depends on the individual, their goals or injuries, the environment in which you’re testing, and more. That said, you can use gait analysis to glean data related to:

  • Timing and spacing of the foot strike;
  • Motion of the foot;
  • Center of force and center of gravity;
  • Footstep pressure distribution;
  • And more.

Each of these helps you to identify potential pathologies in the gait that could reduce performance and lead to injury.


Enhancing Athletic Performance through Gait Analysis

So, how does gait analysis improve athletic and optimal performance for regular folks?

Reducing Injury Risk

Understanding the biomechanics of an individual’s foot and lower leg as they move through the motions of walking or running can provide a wealth of information about non-optimal movements. From where their foot lands to the angle it lands at, there are all sorts of ways a person may unintentionally harm themselves with poor gait. Analysis lets you understand that information and do something about it to reduce injury.

Achieving Optimal Load Distribution

Where should an athlete or a patient put their weight? No one can answer it clearly until they measure load distribution and plantar pressure. Analyzing such information allows you to craft a coaching or treatment plan to retrain the individual’s stance for their health, athletic success, or both.

Enhancing Running Efficiency

Running efficiency, often known as running economy, is a big deal in athletics. How far and how fast a person can get is highly correlated with how efficient their movement is. Gait analysis can point out where they’re using extra energy, wasting time correcting an overpronation, or where they are likely to get strained or injured. Fixing such issues will inevitably lead to faster, more economical running.

Improving Rehabilitation Outcomes

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, injury occurs. You may meet an athlete or patient because the damage has already happened. Either way, your goal is the speediest rehabilitation possible so that the person can get on with practice and life.

Too often, though, a failure to identify the exact source of the injury gets in the way of rehab. Or training plans may, with the best of intentions, counteract what the foot or leg needs to heal. Gait analysis helps you prevent such unfortunate outcomes by offering very granular data about what’s happening between the foot and the surface and inside the foot and leg.

Choosing a Qualified Gait Analysis Practitioner

The last step in enhancing athletic performance – and the walking or running performance of any individual – is choosing a qualified practitioner. Yes, it’s vital to ensure your clinician or coach has deep knowledge and plenty of experience, but without the right tools, even the experts can’t promise the best results.


The Power of Gait Analysis for Improved Performance

If you aren’t yet using in-shoe pressure sensor technology to measure gait, it’s time to start. It’s the best way to enhance athletic performance and prevent injury – and it’s easy to implement at your facility.

With gait and motion research insoles from XSENSOR, you can now test shoes and orthotics, take detailed readings at rest and in motion, and adjust stance and gait in patients and clients. Plus, you can do it in the field or a lab, so you’ll never be limited in your research and analyses again. With simple inserts and cutting-edge software, you can create detailed pictures of athletic performance in minutes.

Want to learn more about the power of gait analysis? We encourage you to read our ebook or reach out to book a demo.

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