Gait analysis - Gimmick or worth it?

I've just watched Panorama, The Truth About Sports Products on Iplayer. This is the link and it is interesting bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/t... It's basically saying that expensive trainers sold alongside gait analysis are a waste of your money and a marketing trick and saying a pair of cheap, comfortable trainers are just as good.

I'm at week 6 and beginning to think I might nearly be a runner and therefore it might be time to upgrade my cheapo trainers. I'm also getting a few aches and pains in my feet, so have been watching advice on here about going to a proper running shop to get correctly fitted. After watching the Panorama show, I'm now really confused..... what does everyone else think?

18 Replies

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  • I had plantar fasciitis, I am heavy and I over pronate. I had gait analysis and got proper shoes, I am now on Week 4 and my feet and my back are fine. For me gait analysis was definitely worth it, the shop didn't even try to sell me the dearest trainers!

  • That was a really interesting program but the gait analysis bit was the only part I disagreed with.

    I always have it and feel it works for me but if you look around here there is enough people who have felt it beneficial to give some confidence.

    Also I am off for an hours long one on the NHS and they don't even have trainers to sell.....

    I assume if it was cobblers then the NHS podiatry service could be reduced in size somewhat?

  • Can you get it on the NHS?

    I've heard that Sweatshop do a really good one and don't hard-sell.

    I have been thinking about getting it done, as I wear barefoot trainers, but I've noticed that my left leg flicks out and I don't want to do damage. One of my foremost conditions about this whole running lark was that I want to do as much as possible to limit injury (I work for an orthopaedic medical centre, so I see the results of people with just such injury).

    At the end of the day, if you get a gait analysis and buy some shoes that minimise discomfort then it's got to be worth it - but a reputable sports shop should offer it for free.

  • I am with it too and have used sweatshop......on both occasions found them very helpful and not pushy at all.

  • Apparently you can, I just went to my GP as the time had come to sort out my niggly left shin/ankle/foot and the first thing was an appt with the podiatrist and when the letter came through it sounded like a gait analysis amongst other things/

    Quite looking forward to it :-)

  • I agree with Greg. gait analysis all the way. I ran indoors on a treadmill for all of c25k with basic neutral trainers without any pain, but when I did venture outdoors & get to running over 20mins I got shin pain. a treadmill test & a new pair of trainers with support & "walaaah" no more pain in my shins. if you are suffering from any discomfort, now that you are running for longer periods, then it is definately worth going & checking your running style, if not only to see how your feet land in different trainers ~ fascinating to watch :)

  • I saw the programme too. What it actually said was that there was no evidence that gait analysis reduced injuries. But surely it must help find the right comfy trainers?

  • Damn it can't watch the thing from Italy, but I'm definietly getting my gait analysed in the Uk in a couple of weeks. I'm gonna go see what "Which" says!

  • Delia, there's a wonderful programme 'expat shield' you can download and that masks your IP address so you can get all the iPlayer programmes - we watched the everything on offer during the olympics through the BBC iPlayer. It's a wonderful programme and makes all sorts of UK programmes available, Sara :-) xox

  • you're a star, thanks xox

  • I've suffered from a sore back in the past and was worried running would aggravate it. So I had gait analysis at a local running shop. Like Roundbutsound they weren't interested in selling me the most expensive pair plus it was free if you bought a pair of shoes.

    Result no foot knee or back issues since starting the programme.

  • I had it done before I started this and had no problems with shin splints, plantar, knees, joints etc etc. I always read how its good to get this done and get the correct shoes for your running style to avoid injuries. I had mine done at Sweatshop too and they were great and didnt pressure me into buying the most expensive shoes. I also invested in the bespoke insoles that are moulded around your foot.

    When shopping for your shoes, go in the afternoon when your feet have expanded and take the socks you run in too. Try on lots of pairs and you will know when you have the correct pair for you.

    Happy shopping!

  • Hi

    I had my gait analysed and bought an expensive pair of trainers last year from a reputable shop, intending to start a running programme. I ended up with calluses on the inside of my heels just by walking in them. I recently came across the NHS Couch to 5K and decided to start again. I bought a new pair of Nike running shoes without any analysis or advice and chose them just because they felt light and comfortable. They are a "free run" older design and half the price of my last pair.

    I am now on week 5 and haven't had a problem with them.

  • You also have to remember that running shoes take a lot of battering especially when running outside. I have 2 pairs of the same ASICS second ones were bought in a sale so that I was prepared for when my old ones were done. I have already noticed that the new ones give my feet more support than the old ones which were constantly wet this summer. I guess they are about ready to be relegated for walks or very wet days. I think the life span for running shoes is about 500 miles, don't think my old ones have done that distance yet!!

  • There's always an exception to the rule - here I am!

    I started C25K in the cheapest pair of trainers I could get from Decathlon - only 15 euros here in France. I never had any problems with them but around week 7 I decided to get analysed and go for a serious pair of Asics.I was told I pronated etC; I immediately started getting sore legs and ended up after graduation with a calf injury. I admit there may have been other factors involved, but I never felt happy with them.

    I went back to the cheap and cheerful pair and even bought a second pair. I haven't had any leg problems since - and I'm running three times a week, working up to 10k and getting to 8k at the moment. Maybe I'd also be happy in an expensive pair that suited me, but I don't see the need frankly. Maybe I'm lucky to have a solid pair of legs - for now!

  • I would recommend gait analysis. I started getting pain in the arches of my feet after a longer run (10miles) and just persevered; I ended up with hip bursitis due to overcompensating and building up mileage too soon. I had bought the shoes I was wearing without having had gait analysis (they were the same as my previous pair but half a size bigger so I'd assumed they would be fine). I went back to the same shop with my two month old shoes, had gait analysis and chose some new shoes based on their recommendations and, to my surprise (and delight) they gave me a full refund on the old shoes. The new shoes are much better and I am slowly trying to build up my distance again.

    I over-pronate and need a stability type shoe. I wonder if, for anyone with a neutral gait, perhaps the gait analysis is less important and you are more likely to be able to select a suitable shoe without expert assistance.

  • My suspicion is that if you are young, already fit and at your ideal weight it probably doesn't matter what runners you use. However if you are older, unfit and overweight then it might be helpful. Panorama is quite right that there is very little scientific evidence that fancy expensive runners reduce injury and there is a lot of hype and marketing involved but lots of people on here, including me, have found gait analysis or at least being fitted at a proper running shop where they know what they are talking about helpful. There is a great book called Born to Run which talks a lot about barefoot running but I think it is something that our mistreated, shoe enclosed feet who have to run on hard pavements would have to work up to gradually!

  • I just happened to pop into a running shop in the USA where they offered this service and so asked about it. The sales person asked how much I run, and whether my feet hurt at all. Based on my answers she recommended I just stick to my current shoes. I was quite surprised as I expected a hard sell.

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