Tape and Gait

What are two things necessary to change the way someone runs?

Wow, that is a pretty big question with a lot of answers. In my opinion, to effectively change someone’s gait it takes a method and a measurement.

The exact method and the exact way to take a measurement are up for debate. There are a lot of fun questions left to answer that will help us choose the best method and the best measurement that we will (hopefully) see answered in future literature.

This Blog post highlights an example of a method that I use and a measurement that we took to show how quickly and effectively we can change running mechanics.

When I do gait re-training, my typical go-to method involves motor learning principles and finding the right types of cues. Despite my best efforts; there are still instances where I just can’t find a great cue to change an athlete’s running form. For those who don’t respond to verbal or visual cues, I try tactile cueing.

I am lucky enough to have access to a portable 3D gait lab, so I did an experiment with my colleague Keith Cronin to see how we could use Dynamic Tape to change the way that I run. In the picture below you will see a 3D model of my “normal” running.

Normal Running

Among other things, my right side collapses into genu valgum noted in the Peak hip ADD and Peak hip IR. This is a common finding that can contribute to a number of different running injuries, so Keith and I decided we should see what we can do.

Notice Right Peak hip ADD and Peak IR

After checking out my normal mechanics, we used a dynamic tape technique pictured below to see if we could have an affect on hip IR and hip ADD.

Credit – Dynamic Tape
With Tape

The full data is above, and you can also see a larger image of the data below showing that there was a change in the hip ADD and IR. (Normal: 8ADD/6IR; With Tape: 4ADD/4IR)

Reduced Hip IR and ADD

The real test now was seeing what happened when we took the tape off…and what we found was really interesting. I not only retained the gains, but even performed slightly better than I did while the tape was on.

After Tape Mechanics

This is an example of what I call Basement Biomechanics, but it is also a great example of what most of us face in the clinic every day. When working with runners, we are constantly trying to find ways to make meaningful change in our patient’s running to see if we can reduce their chance for injuries.

If you see someone who collapses into hip IR and ADD like I do, this may be another tool to add to your arsenal to help improve their form. Not every tool works for every person, so having lots of methods and a great way to measure is very helpful. Learn more about methods we use during our Tape and Gait course and learn more about how we measure during our level 1 Certified Running Gait Analysis course or by visiting www.RunningACE.com to learn about Trace3D

What are your go-to methods and measurements?