Can gait re-training reduce risk of running injury?

Gait re-training research seems to be gathering apace with a burst of new studies crossing the finishing line recently. One such study (Chan et al. 2017) has suggested that running re-training may reduce the risk of developing a running injury. This randomised control trial with over 300 participants reported a 62% lower injury risk in gait re-trained runners compared with controls. We’ve summarised their findings in a brief video;

This builds nicely on research earlier this year (Folland et al. 2017 – Open Access) that found that running gait may play a significant role in efficiency and performance.

“The current study provides novel and robust evidence that running technique explains a substantial proportion of the variance in running economy (39%) and performance (31%). It is therefore recommended that runners and coaches be attentive to stride parameters (lower duty factor, shorter ground contact time and shorter stride length) and lower limb angles (more vertical shank and plantarflexed foot at touchdown, and a smaller range of motion of the knee and hip during stance) in part to optimise pelvis movement (minimal braking, vertical oscillation, and transverse rotation), and ultimately enhance performance.” Folland et al. (2017)

The challenge is how to apply these findings with runners to improve their technique. We’ve made some recommendations in the free download below.

For more on gait re-training to improve performance check out our Facebook Live below from May 2017;

Closing thoughts: The emerging research is encouraging and highlights that gait re-training may have a role in modifying tissue load, reducing injury risk and improving performance but we do need to recognise that further research is required in each of these areas. In particular studies demonstrating long term improvement in pain or performance following gait re-training interventions are needed.

We’ve had lots of interest in our Running Repairs Online Course. Join our waiting list and we’ll let you know as soon as it’s available plus you’ll get access to our free webinar series on achilles tendinopathy. We also have a new course date to announce – May 2018 in Hampshire – book your place HERE.

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