What is The Run Lab 3D gait analysis?

2nd January 2018
Louise Nicholettos

The Run Lab from Cornwall Physio combines the World's most advanced 3D gait analysis system with Running Physio expertise. We're here to help you to run faster and further, with fewer injuries. Building on Cornwall Physio's strong reputation for treating runners, the introduction of The Run Lab means we now have one of the best Running Physio facilities in the UK, right here in Cornwall.

WITH 3D GAIT ANALYSIS WE CAN MEASURE FORCES

Running is all about forces. We generate forces in order to move and we control or attenuate forces to move efficiently and avoid injury. 3D motion capture camera's allow us for the first time to actually measure forces. This has never been possible with standard (2D) images. Although we had a rough idea how movement looked we had no idea what was actually happening in terms of forces and joint loading.

  • IMPROVE PERFORMANCE
  • RUN FASTER
  • PREVENT INJURIES
  • Cornwall Physio is one of the very first places in the UK to introduce Motion Metrix 3D gait analysis. The software allows us to measure exactly how each runner moves with just a few minutes of running. Accurate measurement means we can test and re-test in real time to see which technique or shoe changes improve running economy, speed capacity and joint loading patterns. 

    For the first time, we can prescribe exercises and running drills that are truly specific to each individual runner and then determine the exact amount of improvement with follow-up measurements. 3D represents the future of gait analysis.

    We still get lots of questions about The Run Lab and 3D gait analysis, so here's the answers to the most common things you've been wanting to know.

    FAQ'S:

    Who is the run lab for?

    The Run Lab is for any runner who wants to improve their speed or endurance, or to reduce injuries. It can also be used as a movement screen for other athletes who's sport requires running (rugby, football etc), as it will highlight exactly which areas need to be stretched or strengthened. We're the only clinic in the South West to have Motion Metrix 3D gait analysis software, the world's most sophisticated 3D system. This in combination with our Running Physio expertise means we've been working with runners from across the UK, including some of the UK's best athletes. Cornwall itself has a huge running population and we've been helping lots of local running and athletics club members to get even faster!

    I'VE HAD A SHOE FIT GAIT ANALSYIS, IS THIS THE SAME?

    Not at all! A shoe fit gait analysis is there to help you buy a new pair of trainers and guide your selection. A shoe fit is not going to tell you why you've been getting injured or how you can move better and run faster. Depending on where you get your shoes fitted they may take some basic video of your ankle 'pronation' or they may take measurements of your arch height. These are not measurements that tell us anything about running injury or running performance and are merely designed to guide shoe choice. Recent research actually shows us that fit and comfort are more important than ankle movement ('pronation') or arch height when choosing shoes. A good shoe shop will ensure you're in a shoe that fits you properly and let you spend plenty of time running in different shoes to base your final choice on how they feel. We always recommend buying shoes from specialist running shops so that you can compare different brands and models and actually run in them them.

    I HAVE FREQUENT NIGGLES AND INJURIES, CAN 3D GAIT ANALYSIS HELP?

    Yes, absolutely. Forces are responsible for injuring us and 3D motion analysis allows us to measure these and see exactly where forces are being applied. We are able to measure the precise loading patterns for each joint and see if the painful area is being over-worked by your current running style, or if it's actually under-working due to weakness.  The Run Lab gait analysis can be used to help diagnose the root cause of any ongoing injuries, as well as helping to prevent further injuries by highlighting any areas that need strengthening. We've also been having great success using The run Lab to rehab runners back to training after surgeries or long-term injuries.

    IM A RUNING COACH, CAN I SEND ONE OF MY ATHLETES TO SEE YOU?

    Yes, absolutely. In fact that'd be great. We've already worked with some of the UK's best runners. The optimal way for us to help athletes is for medical professionals, coaches and athletes to work together. We have some very talented and determined runners in the South West and love working with athletes and coaches to help runner's to reach their full potential. If you have a runner who is looking for performance gains or who's plagued by injury, then please get in touch. We can provide reports for athletes to give to their coaches and are also happy for coaches to attend 3D gait analysis sessions with their athletes to see first hand what we're finding and the rationale behind our recommendations. 

    IM A RUNING COACH, CAN I SEND ONE OF MY ATHLETES TO SEE YOU?

    To complete a Run Lab gait analysis we need you to be able to run comfortably for around 5 minutes. However, don't worry if this isn't yet possible as we can start with Physiotherapy first, and get you back to the stage where you can run again as quickly as possible.  Lead Physiotherapist, Lou Nicholettos is one of the UK's leading running Physio's and treats runners from across Cornwall and beyond. No two running injuries are ever the same and getting a proper assessment and diagnosis is one of the very best things you can do.

    Runners often take poor advice from their club mates or their GP and end up resting without actually understanding why they have pain. Many running injuries don't actually need to be rested and the advice to rest can often be poor advice. We hep you to properly understand your symptoms so you can do all the right things to speed up your recovery. If you're not sure which session you'd benefit from most at the moment, get in touch and tell us exactly what you need help with. We can even tailor sessions to your individual needs, to include a combination of Physiotherapy and 3D gait analysis.

    I AM AN ELITE RUNNER, WHAT CAN THE RUN LAB DO FOR ME?

    We've been working with elite runners and triathletes since the very beginning of Cornwall Physio and were one of the first Physio clinic's in the UK to include 2D gait analysis in our running injury treatments. 2D images gave us some valuable information when treating injury but were most useful in runners with very obvious movement issues (usually more novice runners). With standard 2D gait analysis we were unable to measure subtle movement discrepancies and we were unable to see if things were really helping if we changed an athletes movement.

    With 3D gait analysis we can measure with incredible accuracy to find discrepancies that were never before detectable. Elite level runners are generally already moving well but with 3D force measurement we can help them to move even better and make marginal gains. Our experience so far when assessing elite level runners in 3D is that they tend to be very powerful and therefore generate huge levels of FORCE. Moving well and staying injury free is therefore about how well they CONTROL these forces, their strength and symmetry. We've been able to guide strength and conditioning programmes specific to each individual. Check out the testimonial we received form GB Olympian Chris Thompson after his Run Lab session. He's made some impressive gains since we saw him, despite already being one of the UK's best athletes.  

    IS 3D GAIT ANALYSIS REALLY SUITABLE FOR ANY RUNNER?

    To get the most out of the software we need you to be able to run at about 11 min/mile pace, for around 2 minutes. It's also important that you're comfortable running on a treadmill. Occasionally people have never been on a treadmill or don't feel confident using one. In this case your gait will be completely different to how you'd run outside and we won't get the most out of the software. If this is you we can perform a standard (2D) gait analysis where we video you running outside.

    CAN 3D GAIT ANALYSIS HELP WITH SHOE SELECTION?

    The current scientific recommendation are to base shoe selection or comfort. Wearing shoes that feel comfortable is the only factor that seems to affect how likely we are to get injured in a given shoe. This was before we had the benefit of more sophisticated 3D gait analysis systems. With 3D gait analysis we can see if and how a given shoe affects every aspect of your joint loading, running economy and stride. Our Run Lab testing shows that shoe effects are not only runner-specific, but also vary with different running speeds and fatigue levels. 

    We've been including the opportunity to test and compare shoes in our competitor and elite Run Lab packages and getting great results. With 3D we can answer really specific shoe questions like which shoe improves your running economy the most at your Marathon race pace... Or which shoe improves the alignment or joint loading of your sore right knee. This level of accuracy and detail has never before been possible and 3D measurements are highly likely to become commonplace in the future for assisting shoe choice. Here at Cornwall Physio we're ahead of the game!