MODERN TECHNOLOGY CAN HELP PTs TEACH BALANCE, GAIT AND MECHANICS
By Neil Chasen, PT, MMT
“Gait and Balance
“When working with runners, the idea is that good clinicians understand what good running form is. Currently, it’s accepted lore that running form is more or less an individual thing.
“But as an expert in biomechanics, I believe that there’s an ideal running form that makes the runner more efficient. There are performance methods, such as the POSE method, which get at the question of efficiency.
Runners who look efficient look that way because they glide-they don’t have a lot of extra movements in their upper body, they land with their foot underneath them, they pick their heel up, they tend to be more mid-foot than heel-foot strikers, and they land on a bent, not a straight, knee. They also pump their arms back and use their thoracic rotation to drive their gait. A runner who is not efficient will look labored, as if they’re exhausted while they run.
“We know from studying faster runners that they tend to land on their midfoot while running and even their forefoot while sprinting. What I have found is that by advising a runner to make one or two adjustments to their gait, they will improve their form dramatically, become more efficient, use their large muscles instead of their small, and feel lighter on their feet. In a road race, they will run faster.
“My favorite anecdote is a man who had qualified for the Worlds in the Olympic Distance Triathlon when he came to see me. Within six weeks after following my advice, this runner knocked significant time off his 10K by making one adjustment to his gait mechanics. With the help of modern technology, including a video gait analysis system, sports medicine clinicians can become the go-to experts for elite athletes in their community….”
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