There is no better way to understand running and gait issues than to watch you running. Video-based treadmill analysis is an essential part of the diagnosis and treatment of our injured runners. If you have been sidelined from running due to pain or are experiencing recurrent injuries with running, you would certainly benefit from physical therapy.
But First…The Exam
With each running analysis, we consider your speed, the sound your foot makes when hitting the ground, and your cadence/step rate. We then take a video from the front, back, right and left sides of you to give us a comprehensive assessment of your movement in all planes of motion. We analyze each of these planes, starting from your feet and working all the way up to your head. Throughout the gait cycle, we are grossly interested in the lean of your trunk, your head position, and your arm swing. We further drill down in our analysis by viewing the major phases of running in each plane of motion:
- Initial contact: when your foot hits the ground
- Midstance: as your body is advancing over your planted foot
- Push off: just as the foot leaves the ground
- Swing: when your leg is off the ground
Sagittal plane (right and left views):
- Initial contact
- The position of your foot at strike: rearfoot, forefoot or midfoot
- Foot inclination: is the angle between the sole of your shoe and the treadmill belt
- Heel distance from center of mass: how far is your leg striking in front of your torso
- Tibial inclination: the alignment of your lower leg in relation to a vertical line
- The amount of knee bend, ideally about ~20 degrees
- What is the most your knee flexes/bends: ideally it is ~40 degrees
- What is the most your ankle dorsiflexes with the ideal being ~25-35 degrees
- Push off
- The amount of hip extension with ideal being ~10-20 degrees
- Lumbar position
- Pelvic tilt (5-10 degrees)
- Swing phase:
- The amount of your vertical displacement between the highest point in float to the lowest point during stance
Frontal plane (front and back views):
- The amount your legs cross over a line that would run down the center of your body
- Peak pronation/arch drop which is typically ~8 degrees
- Toeing in or out, which we call the Foot Progression Angle
- Any sidebending in your trunk
- Any drop of your pelvis
- The knee window, which is the gap between your knees
Depending on timing, your PT will either review your video with you in that session or the following. The goal is to explain what we see and how these findings could contribute to your running related pain. We will further correlate these findings with your strength, range of motion, flexibility, etc…
Based on your running analysis findings, your PT will work with you on gait retraining, offering techniques to improve your running mechanics. The goal of this is always to reduce pain and improve your efficiency.
One of the most common things we work on with patients is their cadence/step rate manipulation. Research has shown the ideal cadence for many runners to be ~180 steps/minute. In PT, we will ask you to try to increase your normal cadence by about 5%, while remaining at the same speed on the treadmill. Why 5% you ask? It has been found that a 5% increase in cadence can result in a 20% reduction in energy absorption at the knee. WHAT?! Listen up you runners with knee pain! By increasing one’s cadence while remaining at the same speed, you take a physically smaller step. This brings your foot underneath your center of mass when landing on your leg. The benefit of this is twofold: a reduction from impact at initial contact and a reduced need for your body to lay on the brakes as your torso continues to advance forward over your leg. We utilize metronomes, the RunCadence App, and verbal cueing such as “Turn your feet over faster” to help with cadence training.
So what are you waiting for? Give us a call to book an appointment now for your very own individualized running analysis.