3D Gait Analysis comes to Cornwall

A racing start for The Run Lab

We've had an amazing first few weeks since launching The Run Lab and have been receiving some fantastic initial feedback. Our runners and triathletes are genuinely excited to have this amazing new 3D gait analysis facility right here in Cornwall.

For performance

We've had some of the best runners in the south West visit The Run Lab in our first few weeks since opening. 3D gait analysis has been providing some incredible insights into how these athletes run and finding areas for them to work on in terms of technique improvements, and strength or flexibility asymmetries and deficiencies. We can provide individualised exercise recommendations to improve their movement  and re-test for improvements at future sessions. 

Having gait analysis profiles for the region's runners, including our most talented athletes, means we can guide their strength and conditioning needs, reduce or prevent future injuries and have a complete understanding of any injuries that they do pick up.

Making our injury treatments gold-standard

Runner's have all been commenting how much more motivated they are to do their strength and conditioning work having seen the evidence for why they need to do them. For runners who want gold-standard treatment we can now profile their running gait, including joint forces, strength, symmetry and economy and monitor changes in response to their training or rehabilitation.

"The last few weeks have been like a dream come true for me as a running Physio. Being able to obtain such detailed data on how each runner moves, means I can prescribe exercises that are truly individualised and measure precisely what is (and isn't) working. 3D gait analysis at The Run Lab promises to take Cornwall Physio into a new era and really put the South West on the map for running expertise.

The 3D gait analysis on the left was performed on a GB age group triathlete and provided fascinating insights into his history of problems with ITB syndrome. We immediately picked up deficiencies in lateral strength and more detailed analysis and comparisons between left and right demonstrated marked strength deficiencies on one side (particularly his Quadriceps). Interestingly strength and performance deficiencies became apparent only at certain running speeds, a common finding with 3D gait analysis.

This level of analysis allows us​ to provide customised exercise programmes and training recmmednations for injury rehab. For runners who seem prone to injury or who always get injured on the same side, profiling symmetry and strength in this was has huge  implications for injury prevention.

Another really interesting gait analysis case was the Marathon Runner on the right was noticing left quadriceps pain and tightness with his longer training runs. Profiling performance at different speeds demonstrated a significant drop in vertical force on the right side at his 17kmph race pace. Further analysis revealed that this drop in force application by the right side was accompanied by overcompensation on the left. At race pace his left leg was contributing 7% more than his right side. Homework was some strength and power work, particularly focussed on improving his right side. This level of detail was simply not possible with our old 2D gait analysis.

To find out more about The Run Lab at Cornwall Physio you can visit our 3D gait analysis pages. Please email info@cornwallphysio.co.uk with any questions.



Our 3D technology

A little more about our new lab

Our treadmill

Our new treadmill has been getting lots of comments since it arrived last week. Slat-belt treadmills are the ideal choice for gait analysis as they mimic outdoor running as closely as possible. Conventional treadmills create a stop effect between the belt surface and the running surface (dynamic friction) when the foot lands and can significantly change the way we run, making it impossible to accurately assess movement. We used to notice this with our old gait analysis sessions and would often favour outdoor video over the treadmill.  Meanwhile outdoor video becomes inaccurate for other reasons including the effect of uneven surfaces. Our new treadmill delivers exceptional quality for movement analysis and also feels great to run on!

Markerless 3D motion analysis

Where before, you needed to be an elite athlete, visit a fully equipped biomechanics lab and spend a day to get the same parameters. With our new technology you have access to the same data in a fraction of the time.

How does it work?

  • *Depth sensing cameras collect running motion data which is interpreted by the software using highly advanced algorithms
  • The software uses data to extrapolate body segments from the raw data and build a segmented model of the runner
  • The software performs rigorous kinematic and kinetic calculations to extract the angles, forces and timing in order to provide us with key running parameters

* Why depth cameras? Because quality 3D motion data can be obtained without body markers, making motion capture easier and faster than ever

Accuracy of our 3D gait software

Our new 'MotionMetrix' system has had it's parameters successfully validated by different independent institutes using standardized reference equipment:

    • Position, angles and stride parameters against Qualisys Oqus 4 marker-based motion capture system 
    • Forces and temporal parameters against Kistler Gaitway system
    • Running economy against VO2 using Oxycon Pro

How important is running technique?

Making a few small changes to the way you run can make you faster, more efficient and even less injury-prone.

The best running coaches in the world continually have their athletes work on their running form, either through daily drills or through significant biomechanical adjustments. Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar is famous for changing everything from the tilt of a runner’s pelvis to the position of his or her thumbs.

From a bio-mechanical perspective, it makes sense that nearly every runner has some slight imperfection in form that can detract from optimal performance. During running gait we have to absorb forces from 1.5 to 5x body weight and the faster we're running the greater the  forces involved.

Running technique changes, even small ones, have the potential to drastically change how and where these forces are applied​. For example a subtle forward lean from the hips means  greater hamstring activity to absorb forces that would otherwise be absorbed by the knee joint.

The increase in impact forces with elite running speeds translates to an additional 5,000 tons of force that these runners must absorb during the course of the marathon. Despite the added stress, however, these athletes manage to run 26.2 miles with relatively few signs of distress.

Elites prove that it’s not the degree of impact force that does the damage—it’s how you absorb the force. In order to attenuate force during running we need to be strong. Strength and conditioning therefore plays a huge role in determining our running economy and joint loading and is something we assess during all of our running assessments.