The Biomechanics of Running

Running is a popular exercise that is easily accessible for so many people who are wanting to improve their fitness and overall wellbeing. Having an understanding of the biomechanics of running can be beneficial to those starting out in the sport. Unlike other physical activities, most people don’t “learn” how to run; rather, they just begin, only to revisit the fundamentals later down the track when injuries begin to occur.

Having a basic understanding of the fundamentals of running can give some insight into why common running injuries occur, and how our team here at Hills District Podiatry treats them.

The Biomechanics of Running: Some important terminology

When we talk about the biomechanics of running, there are some terms that we commonly use. As sports podiatrists, these are the different terms that you may hear us talk to you about following your biomechanical assessment. These terms refer to the different positions that your lower limbs are in during your running cycle.

The first and most common term in relation to biomechanics of running is “gait”. The gait cycle is the time period from the moment the first foot initially contacts the ground, to the next initial contact of that same foot. You may also hear of the phrase “heel strike” or “foot strike”. This is simply when the heel contacts the ground. The “stride” refers to initial contact times of the same foot.

You sports podiatrist may use these terms when referring to your biomechanical assessment.

The Biomechanics of Running: What determines good biomechanics?

As sports podiatrists, when we examine the biomechanics of running, there are a few key things that we want to assess. Depending on the concerns or injuries of the patient, we may focus on particular aspects of the movement, but in general the lower limb functions as a unit, and as such, we need to analyse the entire gait cycle in order to draw conclusions.

Some key things we look at when assessing a patient’s biomechanics of running:

  • How the various limb segments are moving with relation to each other, and with relation to the ground
  • The angles of the ankle, knee and hip joints at each different phase of the gait cycle
  • Measuring stride
  • The force absorption capacity of the feet, and force plate measurements.

We often have patients ask us how they can perfect their running technique, but in reality, whilst we can work towards improving the biomechanics of running, there is no single perfect running technique.

Our sports podiatrists are highly experienced and will be able to suggest appropriate modifications or variations to your technique, that will in turn improve your biomechanics of running over the course of time.

It is important to bear in mind that drastic and sudden changes to running technique are often the cause of injuries. Quite often we hear of patients who are aiming to improve their biomechanics of running, and make changes to their technique, only to find that they end up with overuse injuries such as tendinopathies (such as Achilles tendonitis, peroneal tendonitis), plantar fasciitis, or friction syndromes such as bursitis. If you are suffering with a particular injury, it is always best to consult with your sports podiatrist before you begin making any changes to your existing technique.

The Biomechanics of Running: Biomechanical analysis at Hills District Podiatry

There are a number of different ways that someone’s biomechanics of running can be inefficient, which can lead to poor performance and in some instances, injury.  In most cases, injury or pain is the result of excessive load on particular tissues. Biomechanical analysis allows a skilled practitioner to identify the causes(s) of that load, and in turn, implement a treatment or intervention plant to reduce that load.

At Hills District Podiatry, our sport podiatrists are experts in the biomechanics of running. Our practice uses video gait analysis to examine how you walk or run on the treadmill in fine detail. This method allows us to quickly identify any anomalies, imbalances, and causes of injury or pain. Not only can a biomechanical analysis help you to make significant improvements to your running or other sporting performance, it can help us treat the cause of your pain from common conditions such as:

The Biomechanics of Running: Speak with a sports podiatrist at Hills District Podiatry

At Hills District Podiatry, we offer a comprehensive service for patients who are seeking to improve their biomechanics of running. Our Rouse Hill Clinic offers video gait analysis, which is an invaluable tool when it comes to assessing lower limb mechanics as they apply to running or other sporting performance.

When considering discussing the biomechanics of running Sydney patients are encouraged to contact our team of qualified and experienced sports podiatrists. We pride ourselves on delivering the highest standard of specialist podiatric care, tailored to the individual and their lifestyle.

If you would like to make an appointment to discuss the biomechanics of running, or any other podiatry concern with one of our sports podiatrists, please telephone our clinic or complete our online booking form.