Many people think gait analysis is all about—and only about—someone watching you walk or run and evaluating your feet and your shoes. How many of you have done the following? A clerk in your local running store watches you jog, and suggests a pair of shoes that are more stable, or more neutral, or more cushioned, or are the type that "forces" you to land mid-foot. Voila! Your biomechanical problems are solved. This is what most people know and have come to accept as gait analysis.
Let's examine the most common misconceptions about gait analysis, and create a real picture of what it is, what it isn't, and how it can be helpful to you as an athlete. True gait analysis is not a generic exercise, but is a scientifically-based and technically-precise process. It is highly individualized, and reveals a lot about how you will hold up to training and, ultimately, perform.
What Is a Gait Analysis?
When we conduct a gait analysis, your feet are only one small piece of your biomechanical puzzle. What happens to your feet is merely part of a holistic, whole body, integrated movement pattern. Running, like most other whole-body activities (such as swimming or many field sports), is essentially a unique way of moving.