In 2012 I had the pleasure of reporting from The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc following The North Face athlete Jez Bragg around the course as he attempted to repeat his 2010 win. (Link to blog). In 2013 I'll be back but to attempt the CCC, a shorter version of the main event featuring a 100km route from Courmayer to Chamonix via Champex with 5950m of ascent

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Gait Analysis

Always interesting and sometime quite scary to see yourself running in slow motion! General observations include...
  • Mid foot strike
  • Slight splaying of the feet
  • Short stride
  • Bent knee at foot strike
  • Over pronation
Generally a controlled and efficient long distance gait with excessive movement at foot strike

The most telling piece of footage is from the rear which shows I land on the lateral edge of my foot and over pronate before toe off. 

Pronation is seen as a negative trait which predisposes runners to injury and many shoe manufacturers attempt to restrict this with motion control shoes. However the action of the foot pronating and supinating is a natural shock absorbing mechanism.

Testing has revealed that the impact forces that act on the lower limbs are higher in athletes who run in cushioned shoes compared to those who run barefoot. This may be due to a psychological mechanism where the athlete believes the shoe is protecting them which allows them to mistakenly modify their running style. A foot should pronate slightly (<15 degrees) at foot strike. This 'collapsing' of the foot allows the tissues to absorb the energy created. The foot should then supinate as it approaches toe off. With this action the bones natural lock together providing a stable and powerful platform for the power phase of the stride.

Runners who over pronate typically don't have enough time or control to supinate sufficiently so lose power on the critical toe off movement. Visually it looks like I over pronate slightly but fairly violently. From this the majority of the power has to come from the big toe. Typically over pronaters wear the soles of their shoes on the outside of the heel and along the line of the big toe on the forefoot. My feet follow this pattern of wear as I develop calluses in these positions especially on the outside of my heel

I've had a great deal of success using orthotics to treat knee injuries and this is one of my options to help control this movement and increase the efficiency of my running.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, this is Jen at Thorlo. This is a neat video, and probably really helps you out on your trail runs! What has been your most memorable trail run? Email me at sometime -- we may be able to help your calluses.