Gait analysis, as waste of time?

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29/12/2013 at 17:04
Ja5onW wrote (see)

Also as they have a serious condition like PF I wouldn't advise running at all until it's sorted. But that's another matter

When you saw they had a serious over pronation. Which in your words was painful to watch why not teach them to run properly, running is realistically the most natural thing to a human.

You could be forgiven for thinking so, but you get some pretty hopeless cases.  If somebody has a very weak arch and a very flexible ankle than you are never going to teach them good running form. 

If you are able to run injury free for the most part, then you should be grateful for it, because  there are people out there who desperately want to be serious runners but can’t find anything that works.  One such case was one of my colleagues at Sweatshop who suffered from chronic PF.  She was an excellent rower and cyclist, and she wanted to add a marathon to her list of accomplishments.  She visited lots of sports injury specialists, and spent a fortune on equipment, but nothing ever really solved it. 

I personally tried to avoid using motion control shoes for all but the most hopeless cases, but there are people out there for who they are the only hope.  Your nuclear weapon for somebody who overpronates hopelessly is the Brooks Beast, and I have only had to deploy it on a couple of occasions.  Once was to a guy trying to get into the army, who was painful to watch, and had pretty much given up on finding a solution to his foot problems.  He ended up coming back and buying a second pair to walk in. 

31/12/2013 at 01:46
You mean this set of studies Ben? You seem to be clutching at straws again like with the studies you linked to earlier that actually disproved your point, so of the US military studies. Below is a brief over view of the findings...

But as the military prepared to invest large sums in more arch-diagnosing light tables, someone thought to ask if the practice of assigning running shoes by foot shape actually worked. The approach was entrenched in the sports world and widely accepted. But did it actually reduce injuries? Military researchers checked the scientific literature and found that no studies had been completed that answered that question, so eventually they decided they would have to mount their own. They began fitting thousands of recruits in the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps with either the 'correct ' shoes for their feet or stability shoes.

Over the course of three large studies, the most recent of which was published last month in The American Journal of Sports Medicine, the researchers found almost no correlation at all between wearing the proper running shoes and avoiding injury. Injury rates were high among all the runners, but they were highest among the soldiers who had received shoes designed specifically for their foot types. If anything, wearing the 'correct' shoes for their particular foot shape had increased trainees chances of being hurt.

Doesn't actually say anything like you claim it does... Does it? Between this and you saying that using an unproven method would be your favoured way of selecting shoes, you are starting to look like an arrogant twit.
Edited: 31/12/2013 at 02:01
31/12/2013 at 08:32
Ja5onW wrote (see)

What happens when the running style changes ben? 

Say I went into a shop with serious 'over bullshit pronation' and you sold me some shoes that fitted. 3/4 months down the line I've been doing some strength work in the gym as part of my marathons routine.

now those shoes are, in all truth Useless.

Why not sell them some neutral shoes and advise strength work.

surely that's the better way to sell a shoe to someone in the long run.

 

Ja5onW wrote (see)

When you saw they had a serious over pronation. Which in your words was painful to watch why not teach them to run properly, running is realistically the most natural thing to a human.

 

This is a really interesting debate. And questions like this add to it (unlike those contributors who selectively read only half of what Ben is saying before chucking insults around).

I've not worked in a shop, with experience of meeting hundreds/thousands of runners for shoe fittings. Nor have I been on dedicated courses at Roehampton University, so mine is an 'amateur enthusiast's' response. But surely the answer to your questions are pretty straightforward. 

If you change your running style, in the way you suggest... then you'd need to change your running shoe.

I think a discussion that involved a suggestion that gym-work could improve the pronation issue would be sensible. And I'd hope that a good running shop would indeed do that (in reality, some would and some wouldn't). 

Now YOU might be dedicated and hardcore, but my guess would be that 95% of runners would take the supportive shoes and never go near that gym to do those strengthening  exercises.  It's the way of the world.

And as for "why don't you just teach them to run properly?"....  well, yes.  Good idea. But they've just turned up at a running shop.  You certainly can't expect the shop to pull the shutters down and get to work on an intensive running-form teach-in !   And if you wanted to send them away... 95% of people don't have the time/dedication to follow that through, IMO. In the real world, you'd end up with no sale... and a disillusioned runner.

In short, I think a good running shop should offer the advice you suggest, but for the vast majority of people, they're better having a good shoe to suit their current needs. And if they are one of the few that work to improve their form / strength, then come back and buy shoes to fit the new needs.

Incidentally, if you did actually do your strength work in the gym and solved your over pronation, didn't your original question include a contradiction?.... Because it can't have been "bullshit" overpronation... because you just solved it.

 

31/12/2013 at 08:49

Thanks for the reasonable response NN. I wasn't talking about me  I'm perfect and never had a problem .

to be honest this is quite an interesting debate and I was merely 'stoking the fire'.

The reason it annoys me is the blatant dis-regard for peoples running form, I know like Ben said, some are pretty useless and require some 'support shoes'. I totally agree with that. But the majority of people are like you, an enthusiast (me too)some good running technique/advice would do a lot of people good.

31/12/2013 at 09:53
Nose Nowt- the point is that the 95% of people who just took stability shoes and did nothing to try to change their physiques or running style, would actually fair ever do slightly better than those who have their shoes allocated based on the traditional running shoe selection processes. This is what the raft of U.S Army and Marine Corp Stufies have found based on actual evidence and not anecdotal half truths. Foot shape is a good indicator of the likrly behaviour of your foot as it hits the floor, but their is no such correlation when looking at benefits from assigning shoes based on this evidence. I wish that there was real proof that the current shoe selection/allocation methods actually were the very best guess that we had but if we can use the big studies that Ben espouses as evidence, then the proof is that we are worse off if we follow the advice given in running shops using videos of foot pronation while running.
The nike study supports this position and that in itself must masked even the most self righteous shoe salesman begin to doubt himself.
31/12/2013 at 20:36

One thing I will add on the pronation issue, is that it is fairly common for an overpronator who becomes a serious runner, to become neutral over time as there ligaments become stronger. This is essentially what happened to me. Very often shoe selection is not so much about a shoe for life, as a short term fix to get you to a place where it will be less important. Having said that, you are always reluctant to move the newly neutralised runner away from their support shoe, because it is already proven to be working.

31/12/2013 at 20:45

Another thing that needs to be clarified, is that gait analysis is not, repeat not about the shape of your foot as it hits the floor.  The shape of your footprint was used as an indicator in early tests, but it is not what you are actually trying to detect, and it is an unreliable indicator.  What you are primarily looking for is the movement of the ankle, the shin bone, and the relationship to the knee. 

A person cal have a completely flat arch and still be a neutral runner.  It is unusual, but you see it from time to time.  By the same token, you get people who overpronate, and don’t leave a particularly flat footprint.  I would never advocate the footprint test as being a reliable indicator of gait, and neither would most running shops today. 

There are many types of "gait analysis" and some are more rigourous than others. 

Edited: 31/12/2013 at 21:05
31/12/2013 at 23:19

When I had my so called gait analysis done at Sweatshop they just looked at footfall and found a still that had my foot landing at a slight angle. No ankles, knees or shin bones were mentioned. 

31/12/2013 at 23:28
Did they try and flog you the "magic" insoles?
01/01/2014 at 12:26
The Grinch wrote (see)

When I had my so called gait analysis done at Sweatshop they just looked at footfall and found a still that had my foot landing at a slight angle. No ankles, knees or shin bones were mentioned. 

Some assistants are better than others, and some explain the process better than others.  The main thing they should be looking for, is whether the movement of the foot causes the shin bone to be displaced horizontally.  If you place your thumb and index finger either side of the shin bone in a neutral runner, and ask them to place their weight on the foot, it stays in exactly the same place.  In an overpronator, you will feel it pull your fingers sharply sideways. 

The other thing that critics of the process overlook, is that it doesn’t just constrain shoe choice, it shows you what is going on in terms of the customers biomechanics.  The video allows you to show it to a layman in such a way that they will understand it.  Why would you not want to know? 

Millsy - The magic insoles were after my time,so I take no responsibility. 

Edited: 01/01/2014 at 12:26
01/01/2014 at 13:13
I just the the lack of compelling evidence to be a complete pain in the arch...

But have enjoyed the banter.
02/01/2014 at 18:42

A few members of staff at our shop got quite adept at gait analysis seductions, but  that is a story for another day. 

02/01/2014 at 18:56

Wow! That's really creepy

02/01/2014 at 19:34

I take it you wont be coming for a gait analysis any time soon then Grinch?

02/01/2014 at 20:14
Ben Davies 15 wrote (see)
They look at whether the customer is landing on the heel or the forefoot, because while most shoes are good for heel strikers, many are crap for forefoot strikers.  Above all they look at the customers history more, in terms of previous injuries and what has worked for them in the past. 

 

 

Hi Ben sorry for para phrasing you above but I just wondered what your thoughts are fore foot runners and shoe type? If you were still a Sweatshop employee and you had a new runner come in with no shoe history but asked for gait analysis and who clearly demonstrated entirely fore foot running, ie heels not touching at all, how would you deal with that customer?

02/01/2014 at 22:23
Lå®Ð䮧€ wrote (see)
Ben Davies 15 wrote (see)
They look at whether the customer is landing on the heel or the forefoot, because while most shoes are good for heel strikers, many are crap for forefoot strikers.  Above all they look at the customers history more, in terms of previous injuries and what has worked for them in the past. 

 

 

Hi Ben sorry for para phrasing you above but I just wondered what your thoughts are fore foot runners and shoe type? If you were still a Sweatshop employee and you had a new runner come in with no shoe history but asked for gait analysis and who clearly demonstrated entirely fore foot running, ie heels not touching at all, how would you deal with that customer?

No problem. 

 

A forefoot striker will usually be a neutral runner by default, though you get the odd exception.  It is still worth checking. 

The main issue you have when serving a forefoot striker, is the fact that most shoes are designed around heel strikers.  Pick the shoe up and have a look at it.  Has the manufacturer designed it with a forefoot striker in mind?  Whether the manufacturer uses a gel, or foam or spring like mechanism, have they concentrated it all in the heel and neglected the forefoot area?  If they have then the shoe will likely have a more aggressive drop, which in turn will make it less suitable for a forefoot striker. 

I would typically offer the customer a choice of slightly more responsive shoes if they land on the forefoot, and I would lean towards ones with less drop.  When the customer tried them on, I would tell them to get up on their tip toes and bounce in them, to better evaluate how they feel when you toe off in them.  I have sometimes lined shoes up on their sides against each other, so that the customer can compare their shape in terms of how they are designed for a forefoot striker.  If you are a forefoot striker, then you must chose the shoe based on the design of its forefoot, and how well it suits your style. 

02/01/2014 at 22:40
As a neutral mid/forefoot striker I find it impossible to find shoes that really offer me the cyshioning that I want. I have kind of settles for Skwchera go run ride as the have a very soft mid/fire foot and can be had for 35-50 quid on eBay most of the time.
I tried the new balance 1080v3 on recommendation by Sweatsho, but bought them from elsewhere as s/shop didn't have my size in store and they could not even order it in due to them changing warehouse location or something, then when I looked online I saw them for 30quid less elsewhere. Anyway I digress, the New balance premier neutral shoe is crap for forefoot runners as the forefoot feels like a leather brogue. I believe the hoka is about the best shoe for a forefoot striker in terms of cushioning as the whole midsole is as thick as the heel in most standard shoes.
Like I say though I oh cheap and cheerful with skechers, although I am tempted by the new go run ultra which has a 23mm forefoot and is a 4 mm drop, but at 84 quid is nearly as dear as Hokas but without the brief yet fabulous endorsements from ultra runners.
Has Ben or anyone else got a recommendation for a forefoot running neutral shoe that is cushioned enough for a soft footed tart like me?
Edited: 02/01/2014 at 22:44
02/01/2014 at 23:07

OK, a couple of points. 

Nikes don’t really have a bias in the design towards heel strikers, because the air cells run the full length of the shoe.  If you want a cushioned Nike for a forefoot striker, then you could try on the Vomero and see how you like the feel.  The NB 1080 is actual another one that I would have suggested. 

Alternatively, if the Sketchers are working for you, it might be worth sticking with them. 

03/01/2014 at 03:04
I am actually leaning towards the pegasus or the vomero 8 at the moment but more so the pegasus as it is available in 2E and 4E widths via the nike iD route, which is expensive but at least the fit will be bang on.
The new balance 1080 is rubbish unfortunately... IMHO anyway.
03/01/2014 at 23:10

I must take exception to Flob calling me an arrogant twit earlier. 

I mean, who was he calling a twit?

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