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The Importance of Gait Analysis

by Courtney Poullas
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If I had to narrow down the most common question new runners ask, it would be this: “What kind of shoes should I buy?” It seems like a fairly easy question to answer, right? Well, not so much. A lot of factors affect what will be the “right shoe” for you, and that is why a professional gait analysis is so important.

Do you need a neutral shoe such as the Brooks Ghost, or do you need a support shoe such as the Brooks Adrenaline GTS? Perhaps you need the MOST support a shoe has to offer, like the Brooks Ariel. You probably aren’t sure, and that is where the gait analysis comes in.

A gait analysis is an assessment of how you walk and run as well as an identification of any abnormalities such as over-pronation (severe arch collapse). Identifying nuances and abnormalities specific to your walking and running style not only gives you the knowledge to find the most comfortable shoe, but it can also help prevent certain running injuries and ailments. 

Finding and wearing the perfect shoes for you can help remedy some of the most common injuries known to runners of all abilities:
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Shin splints
  • IT band syndrome
  • Plain ol’ sore feet and more
A gait analysis can also help you deduce if your current shoes should be replaced. You should plan to replace high quality running shoes every 300-500 miles, and a professional footwear expert can help you assess if and when you need a replacement.

When you receive a gait analysis, you can expect a footwear expert, such as those employed at Fleet Feet Pittsburgh, to watch you run and walk a couple of laps. These experts will assess how your feet hit the ground, what your arches look like, whether you strike the ground with your heel or forefoot, and more. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to take a spin on the treadmill as part of the Brooks Run Signature tour and receive even more gait analysis data.

A good pair of running shoes may seem like a hefty investment, but when purchased based on a gait analysis, it’s more of an investment in your physical health and running longevity! 

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