Retraining My Gait

by Sarah on May 7, 2013 · 7 comments

in Injury,Running

A couple weeks ago, I made my way back to my orthopedist for a follow-up on my foot injury I had over the winter. I have slowly been back to running and I am finally feeling like I’m back in the game. As a final step to figuring out the source of this weird injury, my doctor wanted to do a gait analysis to see if there were any weaknesses causing my foot pain. Children’s Hospital Boston has this really awesome Injured Runner’s Clinic – basically they film you running on a treadmill and use the video to pinpoint exactly which parts of your gait are weak and then give you a plan for gait retraining to help reduce your chance of future injury. How friggin’ cool is that!? Needless to say I Geeked out a little bit in the doctor’s office.

gait analysis

I met with the gait analysis guy and told him all about my injury. Since my case was unique (it wasn’t really a diagnosable injury – just soft tissue “pain”) it was kind of like trying to recreate a car accident — whole lot of things in play here. And then I hopped on the treadmill. I learned a few things:

  • I over-stride just a little bit
  • My cadence isn’t horrible, but it could be better (right now I’m at like 165 beats per minute)
  • I tend to land on my heel, stopping the motion and causing a TON of impact

Ahh! Houston, we have a problem!

After chatting a bit, he told me not to worry – I was going to do gait retraining! He said that by making a few fixes, I would greatly reduce my chances of serious injury (stress fractures). This was music to my ears. At this point, I will do anything to avoid another stress injury. My mental state can’t take another set back like that again. I’m so over it.

So the verdict? I will be going to physical therapy 1-2 times a week for 8 weeks, where they will be doing the gait retraining and addressing other weaknesses such as my tight hips and tight calves. Honestly, I’m kind of looking forward to PT. With marathon training kicking off in a little less than 8 weeks, this is the perfect timing to do this. I want to go into marathon training as strong as I can, and if addressing weaknesses now in PT will do that, I’m all in baby! I am looking forward to learning more about running and proper running style. I know it will be tough and I will be humbled, but I can’t wait to get started. My first session is tomorrow!

Readers: Have you ever had your running gait analyzed? Ever deal with running injuries?

{ 7 comments }

1 Becki @ Fighting for Wellness May 7, 2013 at 9:51 am

Oh man, that sounds like something I need to do! I’ve had a couple gait analyses at running specialty stores, but never by an MD.

Good luck on your first session! Can’t wait to hear how it goes.
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2 Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction May 7, 2013 at 10:12 am

I’ve never done this but I would love too! I know something is off with my running because after the half-marathon 2 days ago I find myself sore in only certain places, such as my right hip and left calf? Weird!
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3 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City May 7, 2013 at 10:46 am

I did something similar a few years ago and it’s so cool! I hope the retraining helps and you’re injury free for marathon training!
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4 Stephanie @itrainthereforeieat May 7, 2013 at 11:39 am

This is awesome! One of my good friends works with the gait analysis clinic at Children’s :) She’s on vaca right now though so too bad you couldn’t work with her! I think it’s a great thing that they’re doing, sometimes the smallest tweaks can make a huge difference!
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5 Katrina May 7, 2013 at 1:45 pm

What a great service! Is this something that anyone can sign up for, or do you need to be referred by a doctor? I’m local to you and my groin has been nagging me for months now; I’d love to get a gait analysis done.

6 Sarah May 7, 2013 at 1:59 pm

I would look up Children’s Hospital Boston Injured Runners Clinic online and call. Unsure if you have to be seen by a doctor first or not.

7 Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog May 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm

So cool! I would have totally geeked out too! I’ve never formally had my gait analyzed, but I would love to. It seems like you learned so much from this session. Good luck with the PT.
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