Running Gait Cycle

The first part to learn when it comes to Running Bio Mechanics is the Running Gait Cycle. The Running Gait Cycles is the series of movements in the lower part of the body, beginning when a foot hits the ground and ending when it touches the ground again. There are two different phases in the Gait Cycle the Stance Phase and the Swing Phase. The Stance Phase is the first part of the cycle which is roughly 40% of the cycle. The Stance Phase is when your heel begins to make contact with the ground and ends when your toe leaves the ground. The other 60% of the cycle is the Swing Phase. This phase occurs when you foot is not touching the ground.

This cycle is what creates a difference between running and sprinting because the faster you are running the farther forward your foot’s initial contact with the ground moves from hind-foot to forefoot. Approximately 80% of long distance runners are hind-foot runners, with the remainder are characterized as mid-foot strikers. With sprinters, their body is moving at the fastest speed possible for the distance of the run while distance runners are generally more relaxed and controlled in the extent of the run.

The Gait cycle is used as the basic unit in the gait analysis (a tool used to identify biomechanics abnormalities). In the gait cycle there is no point when both feet are touching the ground. Instead of both feet being on the ground, both feet are in the air (double float). Generally the faster the runner is going, the less time the runner will be in stance. This time of the runner being in stance, the center of gravity that is at its peak height when at double float falls. Horizontal center of mass also decreases during this time also. After finishing up the stance phase with the lowering of the center of mass, the runner goes into the swing cycle and your center of mass is propelled upward and forward, along with potential and kinetic energy increasing.

The Gait cycle is used as the basic unit in the gait analysis (a tool used to identify biomechanics abnormalities). The gait analysis, even though we don’t generally think much about it, is very important to our every day transportation. Many people are able to move with abnormal gait cycle patterns without noticing, but many other experience injury or pain from these occurrences. Some abnormalities that can occur from gait cycle issues tying to the musculoskeletal system. Generally gait analysis occurs as a visual test where the patient is observed. While this type of analysis is convenient, it misses out on many data used in the process of diagnosing. some of these factors include center of force, step time, swing step, stride length, and weight distribution. How there factors are recorded is from a gait analysis mat (picture below) which get all of these variables that are not visually achieved.

The gait cycle is an important aspect of every day transportation, and especially running. Without the gait cycles runners wouldn’t be able to properly time their strides, or be able to detect injuries and how to fix them.