Athletico Running Video Gait Analysis Review

date December 15, 2018 location

As I have started taking my running habit more seriously over the last couple of years, I have been trying to improve in every way possible. While the formula for improving as a runner is simple: "run more", the challenge of scaling weekly mileages and run difficulties without injury is very complex. In addition to strength training, proper nutrition, post-run massages, and careful mileage increases, another way to improve as a runner is to optimize running form. Improved running form offers two advantages: 1)it lowers injury risk by ensuring that improper form isn't putting too much stress on any part of the body, and 2)it improves running economy allowing for longer distances with reduced effort. As I am currently between marathon training cycles, I decided that now would be a good time to go in for a video gait analysis.

There aren't a lot of options for video gait analysis in Chicago, and I ended up deciding on Athletico simply because it is the closest to where I live. The video gait analysis cost $150 and consisted of two one hour sessions with a Physical Therapist. During the first appointment, the PT asked questions about my running history, how I warm up and cool down, and did some basic strength and range of motion tests. We then moved to the treadmill where he filmed me running from multiple angles for about 10 minutes at a pace consistent with what I would do for a moderate run. During the second appointment, the PT walked me through the results and what I can do to correct the findings. Many of the corrections involved various exercises which I then performed under the PT's supervision, ensuring I was doing the exercise properly along the way. Below is a summary of the findings from my report, and here is the full report. The report is broken up by the angles that were filmed, with annotated photos showing form deficiencies.

Posterior View Findings

Fault: Left Hip Drop 7°
Explanation: My hip/pelvis is dropping below the ideal range of 4-6° potentially putting more stress on my hips and knees. While I am just above the desired range here, this finding is particularly interesting since I have struggled with knee soreness over the last several years of my running career.
Prescribed Exercises:
Monster Walks

Foam Roll vs Wall

My PT emphasized a series of drills from Christopher Johnson, including:
Metronome Marching

Side Step to Lateral Hop Progression

Four Square Hopping Basic

Quick Tap Variation

Lateral Skipping Over Hurdles

Lateral Toe Taps

Lower Posterior View Findings

Fault: Over Pronation 11° right, 12° left
Explanation: My feet tend to roll inwards on landing beyond the desirable amount of less than 10 degrees.
Prescribed Exercises:
Arch Doming Progression

Single Leg Heel Raises

Eccentric Lower Leg Strengthening

Marching Drills

Mountain Climbers

High Knees on Wall

Calf Stretches
Proximal Stabilization

Lateral View Findings

Fault: Heel Strike, Low Cadence
Explanation: My cadence (steps per minute) is 164 and below the desired range of 170-190. This means that my feet are reaching with every step resulting in an increased impact with the ground that can result in pain particularly in the knees. I question the result of the cadence as my watch also tracks this and a quick look at my strava profile suggests that my cadence was about 179 during my last race, and about 169 during my easy runs. That being said, while I've worked hard to increase my cadence and put an emphasis on landing mid-foot, there is at least room for slight improvement here.

Anterior View Findings

Fault: Landing on outside of feet 14° right, 10° left
Explanation: Due to a weakness in my hips, I am landing on the outside of my feet. This finding is particulary interesting given that I've struggled through all sorts of pains in my right ankle, foot, and particularly my fifth metatarsal (pinky toe bone).
Prescribed Exercises: Hip strengthening (see above).

Overall I was happy with the analysis and while there were no earth-shattering revelations about my running form, the analysis reinforced some areas where I already knew I needed work, and added several new exercises for me to improve some of my weaker muscles.