Take a look at this fantastic video of the runner’s gait cycle.
Consider the LEFT leg ONLY of the runner in the middle lane of the video.
Please note: the stages of the running gait cycle are the exactly the same as the walking gait cycle. The only differences are: a walker spends roughly 70% of the time in stance phase as opposed to about 30% for a runner. Also a runner spends a short period of time in between phases where neither feet are in contact with the ground often termed a floating phase, but because we are only focussing on one leg, its incorporated in the stance and swing phases.
So let’s summarise the gait cycle…
In our images below, we refer ONLY to the runner’s LEFT leg.
-Heel Strike on the contact foot
the body moves forward to…
The contact leg has:
— ankle dorsiflexion,
— knee flexion,
— hip flexion;
this is the body’s way of dissipating the load of impact
Refer to Anatomical Body Movement Reference for explanations of flexion, extension and dorsiflexion.
Note in the video the runner has a heel strike. In our static image above, the barefoot runner is a midfoot stiker, so goes straight into Loading Response.
Mid Stance –
Foot directly underneath the hip.
– This is where the body experiences peak loading
– This is the end dissipating load and the start propulsion
– Heel Off
– ends in Toe Off
— fully extended at the hip
— extended at the knee
— plantar flexed
(ignore the windlass mechanism referred to in the video for now)
– starts with Toe Off
– non-load bearing phase of the gait starts
– hip flexion
– knee flexion
– ankle gently dorsiflexed
Late or Terminal Swing
– peak hip flexion
– peak knee flexion
– knee extension
– ends with Heel or Midfoot Strike.
and we cycle through Stance Phase – Initial Contact again.
This is the basic Running Gait Cycle, and in future articles we shall be referring back to this time and again.
Images by Muybridge, Eadweard, 1830-1904 – http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/p15799coll58/id/5144, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30970671.