Gait Problems

Written by Jared Vincenti
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The average person learns to walk around the age of 15 months, and few people think about their ability to walk after this. However, there are several potential complications in human gaits, which usually don't surface unless the person takes up running. Then, they may experience pain in the knees, ankles, shins, feet, or hips as a result of a few small errors taken in each step.

Common Gait Problems

The most common problems in the human gait are overpronation and underpronation. These have to do with the part of the foot that strikes the ground in each step. Someone who overpronates leans too heavily on the inside of his foot while running, and someone who underpronates tends to roll outward with each step.

While overpronating is more of a problem than underpronating, each can contribute to their share of running ills. By leaning too heavily to one side of the foot, the ankle places an undue amount on tension on a tendon on the opposite side. Depending on the person, the pain from this imbalance can manifest in any number of places up to the lower back. Thankfully, pronation problems can usually be cured with orthodic supports inside the runner's shoes.

Other gait problems can be more complicated, and usually involve more delicate diagnosis. Some runners may place more weight on one leg than the other, or waste energy with outward kicking motion. For these cases, motion analysis experts can determine exactly where a problem originates. From there, a specialist can figure out the best course of treatment for specific gait problems.

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