Can runners’ gait be effectively re-trained?
Running mechanics have often been cited as potential causes for running-related injuries.
It is believed that altering one’s mechanical pattern may lead to reduce the loads on tissues and joints.
Altering your running technique is not an easy task, as locomotion is thought to be pretty much automatic and difficult to change.
There are 2 main things you can focus on to modify your gait: using feedbacks - visual or real-time -, or training some key muscles.
For visual feedback, our modern age makes tablets like ipads accessible. They can be used instead of a mirror to give you a precise vision of your running technique. Put some markers on the key areas to focus on, and you are all set.
For real-time feedback, the setup is trickier as you need both devices on your body, and a monitor to tell you instantaneously what is happening.
Even though studies are not legion, the existing ones are positive about feedbacks effectiveness.
A common aspect of many running-related injuries is a weakness of certain key muscles, like glutes, hamstrings, or tibialis posterior. Identifying the culprit may lead to a “natural” resolution of the poor running technique.
Combining both visual feedbacks with strength training seems to have the highest potential to improve gait patterns and reduce pain.