At some point, every runner deals with aches and pains. You probably know that stretching, proper running shoes that fit well, and rest days can help prevent injury and keep you running at your best. But what you might not have considered is that your body mechanics, the way that your body moves in space and hits the ground when you run, are having a tremendous impact on your performance and your potential for injury over time. A running analysis, offered here at the HSS Tisch Performance Center, can be an invaluable tool for runners and multisport athletes.
What is a Running Analysis?
A running analysis is essentially an evaluation of the way you run. A thorough analysis will detect the running mechanics that have the potential to cause injury, as well as identify the factors you can modify to train more effectively and to improve your running performance. How does your foot land when you hit the ground? How high are you bouncing between strides? What does your body alignment look like? These are all pieces of the puzzle to determine what’s going on when you run and where there might be room for improvement.
What Does It Involve?
Running analyses are offered at several performance centers and hospitals across the country; even some athletic shoe stores offer them. The specifics of each program will vary, but most analyses will include video of you running in various different views which will provide you with visual feedback of your mechanics. At the HSS Performance Center, the Running Mechanics Profile is a full assessment of how you run. The profile includes:
- A musculoskeletal examination from head to toe by a physical therapist who is certified and specializes in running. We look at your overall body alignment, and focus in on specific points of your musculature to determine where you are tight, where you have good flexibility, where you are already strong, and what points in your body could use some conditioning.
- Functional testing such as squats (both double legged and single legged), step downs and balance drills are performed to get a sense of how you move and use your muscles, with a particularfocus on running.
- A video analysis of you running taken from multiple angles – the front, side, and the back- to get a complete 2-D picture of the way that you run. Our analyses are done using Dartfish , an advanced video system that allows us to get a very accurate, detailed picture of your run.
You can see the video analysis in action here:
After looking at your exam, functional testing, and video analysis, we put together a strategy to help you work on any biomechanical issues that may have been identified. You will receive a packet outlining everything that we discussed, with images of your running patterns and strategies to run with more strength and efficiency.
Who Should Get One?
You do not have to be a marathon runner to get an analysis. Anyone who incorporates running or jogging into their fitness routine, or who runs as a part of their chosen sport (like basketball or tennis) would benefit. Do not wait until you have an injury or are regularly feeling pain! The sooner you can identify the running mechanics that could cause you problems, the better you will feel as you run and the better your chances are of preventing injury in the future.
Michael Silverman, PT, MSPT, USATF-1, is a physical therapist at Hospital for Special Surgery’s James M. Benson Sports Rehabilitation Center, specializing in rehabilitation for runners and other performance athletes. He has a special interest in running-form analysis, which he performs at the Tisch Performance Center at Hospital for Special Surgery.