Running Biomechanics Analysis

A running biomechanics analysis can form an integral part of evaluation – either for/of the injured runner or for screening for injury reduction – but should always be complemented by a physical examination and thorough history taking (1).

Research shows that for treadmill analysis, an acclimation period of 6 to 10 minutes should be used before video evaluation, as studies have identified changes in kinematics deviating from normal running mechanics with treadmill running up to an initial 6 minutes (1). It is also important consider the nature of symptom provocation in an injured runner. Essentially, if a runner experiences symptoms after a number of minutes or miles – for example between 2-4 miles – it may be necessary to acquire video with the runner in a fatigued state, after a period of running and consistent with their symptom history.

As is common with most things running related, the way in which we as runners adapt our gait patterns to run on a treadmill are entirely individual, and specific to the runner (2). Changes in posture (body position), cadence (leg turn-over), strike pattern (heel-forefoot-toe), upper body motion (rotation etc) are all fairly common when comparing an athlete running on a treadmill versus outdoor at the same pace (although it is worth saying that some runners will show no major change across the two surfaces!). Again, time is an important criteria here.

To combat these 2 hugely important points, running analysis sessions at DC Injury Clinic require a minimum of 30 minutes of running on a treadmill, at a series of paces (ranging from walking to 5K pace).

However, before you get on the treadmill (or ‘dreadmill’ 🙂 ), using years of biomechanical assessment experience, a series of running specific tests – both biomechanically and physiologically – should be carried out, designed to highlight areas where either restrictions in mobility (or more importantly, a lack of control over the available mobility) and/or strength could potentially be contributing to inefficient running and injury/pain. This part will look at:

  • Ankle & Lower Leg strength & mobility
  • Knee Assessment
  • Hip strength & mobility
  • Pelvic strength & mobility
  • Upper body mobility
  • Balance & coordination
  • Spirometry Test (used to help monitor lung condition and capacity)
  • Pulse Oximetry Test (measure of how much oxygen your blood is carrying. Having a very low blood oxygen level can put a strain on your heart and brain)
  • Blood Pressure Test

From here, we move on to the active assessment, on the treadmill!  Using the latest technology, this part looks at:

  • EMG (Electromyographical) testing seeing objectively which muscles you utilise – see below image
  • Initial contact point
  • Stride length/pattern
  • Upper/lower leg rotation and cross-over
  • Hip Extension & Pelvic Tilt
  • Hip drop &/or Hitching
  • Upper body & Arm Movement/Rotation
  • Cadence (step frequency)

EMG Data

This is a full body video gait assessment, and is a great opportunity to help find ways to reduce chance of injury risk and increase performance. Whilst there are no panaceas, this will provide us with clues as to how you can make yourself a stronger, faster and more resilient runner, and so is ideal for the new runner or the experienced runner.

Once we have accumulated all relevant data from the above 2 stages, we will discuss a bespoke plan to address any issues which may have been apparent. You will also receive this in writing after your appointment as this is fundamentally the most important part – what you can do.

Not your therapist. Not your coach. Not your equipment.

You.

For more information, or to book an analysis, please contact Dan@DC-InjuryClinic.co.uk

REFERENCES

  1. An Evidence-Based Videotaped Running Biomechanics Analysis | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4714754/
  2. A kinematic comparison of overground and treadmill running | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7898346

N.B. There are no ‘one size fits all’ style quick fixes in most injury scenarios, so these article shouldnt be seen as such. They are merely guides to a better understanding of how our bodies work.

For more information please visit www.dc-injuryclinic.co.uk

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