Fitting running shoes
Biomechanical assessment involves assessing and measuring different motions of the foot, ankle, leg and lower back to determine whether it functions and moves correctly. Gait analysis (see below) involves assessing these movements while running.
Running shops commonly offer 'biomechanical assessments' but don't confuse these with the assessments offered by qualified health professionals. Sports injury professionals such as physiotherapists and podiatrists are fully qualified to offer these services. If you have an injury or experience discomfort, a biomechanical assessment may well be the best first step for fitting running shoes.
Gait analysis involves analysis of the foot motion during your normal running action, usually using video and/or digital analysis to assess specific points in the gait cycle. There are three common forms of analysis:
If you have an injury or experience discomfort, a biomechanical assessment may well be the best first step for fitting running shoes.
Basic analysis commonly involves looking at your feet, your existing shoes and/or your running style without the aid of video/software. Usually provided free of charge.
Video analysis usually involves taking a video recording of you running on a treadmill which can then be played back for detailed analysis. Sometimes provided free of charge if you are buying shoes.
Digital analysis uses gait analysis software (sometimes in conjunction with video analysis) for detailed computer analysis of your running style. Sometimes provided free of charge if you are buying shoes.
Pressure Plate Analysis
Pressure plate analysis uses computerised sensors to show how much pressure each part of your foot takes during normal foot movement. Running shops offer various forms of pressure plate analysis, including the new Fitprint computer mapping system. Usually provided free of charge.
Sports injury professionals such as podiatrists are qualified to provide a detailed diagnosis from this type of analysis, sometimes used in conjunction with other assessments.
Customised insoles (or orthotics) are special insoles designed to correct problems and realign your foot to ensure that it functions correctly during your running movement. These are not just arch supports.
Running shops are starting to provide customised insoles although this is a relatively new area. Health professionals such as podiatrists are qualified to assess your requirements and provide you with bespoke insoles.