Studies have shown that every runner has a unique running gait pattern with dynamic movements that begin with how each foot hits the ground. But you’ve probably noticed that just by watching other runners around Boulder. The key point is that the running shoes you wear can alter your gait in a positive or negative way, depending on how your ankles, knees and hips react to the initial impact of your feet hitting the ground.
Studying and analyzing running gaits is both an art and a science and something In Motion Running’s Mark Plaatjes has been doing his entire professional career. Plaatjes is a prominent physical therapist with a sophisticated understanding of how the human body moves, how to fix common and complex running injuries and how to fit runners into the best possible running shoes. As the longtime owner of In Motion Rehabilitation and longtime shoe-fitting expert, he has helped keep both recreational world-class athletes on the path of happy, healthy running in Boulder for more than 25 years.
Using his trained eye, his vast experience as a physical therapist and an app on a digital tablet, Plaatjes offers free gait analyses at In Motion Running every Wednesday afternoon from noon to 6 p.m. and every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
A running gait analysis can offer cues to curing common running ailments and overuse injuries and also generally help understand how to make your running mechanics smoother via more optimal shoes or an after-market orthotic insert. It’s typical for a runner’s gait characteristics to vary between their left and right legs and to change dramatically from year to year.
“You can’t just put a runner in a shoe and ask them if it feels comfortable,” Plaatjes says. “You have to understand each individual runner’s mechanics, how they move, how they run, where they run, their foot shape, how the surface of their foot interacts with the interior of a shoe and synthesize all of that and come up with some proper options for that particular runner. Now more than ever it’s important to fit runners into the right shoes, and that’s one of the reasons I was inspired to open In Motion Running.”
“Fitting runners into the proper shoes is accomplished by understanding each runner’s unique movement patterns, helping them strengthen their body and improve their mechanics for running, fixing any ailments and, of course, properly fitting them into the right shoes for the type of running they do.”