Gait Analysis Will Help You Choose The Right Workout Shoes And Stay Safe

I was introduced to gait analysis by Dr Kannan Pugazhendi, the eminent sports medicine specialist of Chennai, and since then I have never bought workout shoes sans the gait analysis. He strongly advises on making right and sensible choices when it comes to sports and fitness gear, before we invest our several thousands on them, with special emphasis on shoes. Rightfully so, since our feet have the crucial task of bearing our body weight while we run, or sweat it out in the gym.

Very often people buy walking/running/workout shoes based on their budget. Next on priority comes the look or style of the shoe as well as the comfort. It is not enough if the shoe fits you snugly. We do not all have perfect feet, some are over pronated and some under. Each requires a shoe that can offer support to specific affected parts of the foot. This is where professional gait analysis steps in to help avoid injury and optimise performance. Wrong or ill-fitting workout shoes can be trouble-makers leading to foot, ankle and knee aches and pains, not to mention the concomitant lower back pain that follows knee pain faithfully like a bad coin ! Read here on why it is important to choose proper shoes while exercising in any form.

Years ago I used to get the foot scan done at Adidas, for that was the only option available at that time. It was pretty basic. In recent times, however Running Lab has come to Chennai and the Asics flagship stores are equipped with gait analysis system. Of the two, I prefer the Asics stores. Their staff is better trained to do the gait analysis and their system is more advanced and detailed. While the general term is gait analysis, Asics calls it the FOOT ID. I have reproduced here their official description of the process.

“ASICS FOOT ID is a destination area of the ASICS shop offering static and dynamic measurements, including foot shape analysis and gait cycle analysis. ASICS FOOT ID static measures the foot shape and ASICS FOOT ID dynamic analyzes the consumer’s gait while running”.

What Is Gait Analysis ?

Gait analysis measures the degree of pronation of the feet. When we walk or run, the outside part of the heel strikes the ground first. Simultaneously, within fractions of a second, the foot rolls inward and that is called ‘pronation’. Pronation acts like a shock absorber and optimally distributes the force and impact of the heel hitting the ground.

Over-pronation is when the feet roll inward too much.

Under-pronation (or supination) is where the feet don’t roll inward enough.

So, what gait analysis does is that it matches the client’s degree of pronation with the correct shoe type, thereby balancing over or under-pronation. That in turn helps reduce the risk of injury and improves walking/jogging/running efficiency.

Gait analysis is helpful for runners as well as those that indulge in indoor workouts. It is extremely important for people who walk/run on treadmills. Here is how the process goes.

I went through similar here at the Asics store in Express Avenue and here are the pictures.

asics gait analysis system, my thought lane

Gait Analysis treadmill and the six step guide

After I filled in my registration form, the laser sensors were pasted at specific points on my feet and the static foot analysis was conducted, one foot at a time.

static foot analysis, my thought lane

Static foot analysis

The results showed like this

WHAT IS VIDEO GAIT ANALYSIS?

A pair of test shoes were then given to me and I had to walk/run on the treadmill with those on.

dynamic foot analyser video

Tester shoes and dynamic foot analyser video

It involves running for a few minutes on the treadmill, while a video recording is made of the runner’s feet. I did a brisk walk. I have a knee injury and hence didn’t opt to run. In conclusion, the static and dynamic test results were analysed digitally and here is the story it told me about my feet.

(One can then try a variety of shoes selecting cushioning, structured cushioning or maximum support options according to the results.)

gait analysis sampler, my thought lane

Gait Analysis sampler

A model of an indoor workout shoe (since I am not a runner and indoor gymming is what I do) was then suggested to me based on the results above. Syed Noor, the store manager explained to me on what my feet demanded, and why that particular model of shoe would do me good. It offered support at the arches of my feet and yes, it felt better than my previous shoes that had probably been worn out – they were a year old or a little more than that.

asics store manager showing the recommended shoe model

When the store manager suggested the recommended shoe model

How To Avail The Gait Analysis

There is a fee of INR 500 towards the gait analysis which is reimbursed when you buy a pair of shoes from the Asics store. If that does not fall under your scheme of things, you can avail the gait analysis for the fee and buy shoes of your preferred brand.

If you havent paid attention to gait analysis in all these years, it is time to do so. Our feet do not like being messed with and deserve all our attention and more to keep them supple and conditioned, strong and efficient. Choose your workout shoes right and stay safe ! Wishing Wellness !

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