How Running Gait Affects Your Running?
A normal or ‘neutral’ foot strike will create even wear and tear on shoe soles and heels, and your footprint will show your toes and forefoot connected to the heel with a broad band on the outside of the footprint. If your footprint does not look like this, you may over-pronate (roll in) or under-pronate or supinate (fail to roll in enough).
DIY podiatry with the wet footprint test
To find out what your footfall is, wet your feet and make a few wet footprints on the floor where you can clearly see the outline of your footprint.
- A full footprint means you are over-pronating (rolling in too much).
- A lack of footprint in the middle means you are supinating or under-pronating (not rolling in enough).
- A footprint with a narrow band on the outside of the footprint joining the forefoot to the heels indicates a neutral (normal) footfall.
Analyzing your foot strike
If the inside edge of your shoes wear out, this is an indication that you over-pronate when you walk or run. Excessive pronation causes the ankle and leg to twist and can lead to injuries such as shin splints. If the outside edge of your shoes wear out, this is an indication that you supinate or under-pronate when you walk or run. This reduces the amount of shock absorbed through your feet when you run.
How does this affect my running?
Your footfall affects two things:
- Your running gait.
- The type of running shoe that will suit you best.
If you don’t know what your footfall is, an assistant at a specialist running shop may be able to tell you by either looking at your existing shoes or watching your walking or running gait, and will be able to help you choose the best type of running shoes.
Our feet should naturally roll inwards as our foot hits the ground, allowing the middle of the foot to absorb some of the impact. If you don’t roll in far enough (under-pronate), or roll in too far (over-pronate), running shoes or orthotics can help to correct your footfall.
We all have our own way of running, although if you have not ran since being at school you may feel like you need to learn to run all over again! Your running form is important, as poor form can not only add minutes to your run time, but poor technique is the main cause of running injuries, particularly those caused through repetitive strain injuries. Incorrect footfall and poor body alignment are the most common things to affect good running form or technique, so spending time checking how you run is worthwhile.
Over the counter orthotics from specialist running shops can help – slip them into your running shoe and check for a more normal footprint to test them out. Alternatively, have your gait analyzed by a podiatrist and have individual, custom-made orthotics. These cost more but are made to fit your feet.