Can gait re-training be considered a valid tool?

It is almost 3 years since I wrote anything at all on the issue of gait re-training. And, in the world of biomechanics and sports medicine research, 3 years is an eternity.

To put it into context, in the 7 odd years since the minimalist fad hit, there has been an avalanche of research into every facet, every claim made by those who espoused it. Predictably, no clear advantage has been identified supporting those claims or underlining a compelling reason to run in minimalist shoes or barefoot.

That said, I recently wrote, and I have said this all along, that running in minimalist shoes or barefoot is not bad, and, if you are prepared to think outside the box, you may well be able to exploit this in a positive manner for your patient / clients.

Minimalist footwear now accounts for about 0.3% of all running footwear sales, and it would be fair to say it has not lived up to its many promises.

Likewise, gait retraining has gathered a fervent if not fanatical following amongst some, who swear it is the cure for all evils. But, is it just another trend, and is there the evidence in the hard, cold world of science to give us reason to include it in our treatment protocols?

Well, I can do nothing more than jump in, and see what the boffins have to say.

Simon Bartold
Director of Bartold Clinical