If you’ve never heard the term Gait before, allow me to explain.
Gait is the analysis of someone’s running pattern.
Measuring someone’s Gait allows you to identify what type of striker they are when they run, there are three different types:
- heel-striker: the first point of contact when landing is the heel
- Mid-foot striker: the first point of contact is just before the balls of your feet
- Fore-foot striker: the first point of contact is just beyond the balls of your feet
Ideally, you want to be a mid-foot striker.
Heel-strikers, the most common to of striker, create two points of impact when landing: when your heel hits the ground and when your toes hit the ground. This creates two spikes of gravitational force, so instead of your body only needing to brace one spike in force creation, it now has to do twice the work. Furthermore, landing heel first creates additional stress in the bones and ligaments of the lower limb, when you want the force to be absorbed by the muscles and muscle tendons of the lower limb.
Mid-foot strikers, the golden egg, only creates one spike of force among landing, while allowing the hamstrings, quads, and gastrocs (calves) to absorb the majority of the force created.
Fore-foot strikers, still more beneficial than heel-striking, is beneficial because you still maintain only one force spike upon landing; however, the downfall of this is because you land so far forward on your foot, you can create additional stress on the metatarsals and potential cause a fracture within them.
Recent research suggests that barefoot running can influence change among heel-strikers to mid-foot strikers, and fix/relieve lower limb loading injuries.
I will be doing a complete post on barefoot running soon, stay tuned!