A bit about the QL...


As we have said in previous posts,  though they can’t act independently we like to think to think of the QL as having two divisions. The lower division arises from the medial portion of the iliac crest and adjacent iliolumbar ligament and inserts onto the transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae, in the coronal plane from lateral to medial and in the saggital plane from posterior to anterior. The upper division arises from the lumbar transverse processes of the upper 4 lumbar vertebrae and insert into the inferior border of the 12th rib, running in the coronal plane from medial to lateral and in the saggital plane from anterior to posterior; about half of the fascicles of this second division act on the twelfth rib and the rest act on the lumbar spine.

The QL is primarily a coronal plane stabilizer causing lateral bending to the ipsilateral side when the foot is planted as well as posterior rotation of the lumbar spine on the weight bearing side.   When acting unilaterally without the ipsilateral foot fixed on the ground, it can raise the ilia on the side of contraction. It is active during single limb support during stance phase of gait on the contralateral side (along with the external oblique) to elevate the ilium. This is coupled with the ipsilateral anterior fibers of the gluteus medius and minimus pulling the iliac crest toward the stable femur. Sahrmann states “the QL is optimally situated to provide control of lateral flexion to the opposite side via its eccentric contraction to provide control of the return from lateral flexion via its concentric contraction. The muscle is also positioned to play a role in the rotation that occurs between the pelvis and spine during walking”.

Acting bilaterally, it extends the lumbar spine, deepening the lordosis and acting to limit anterior shear of the vertebral bodies.

It is also able to stabilize the 12th rib during forced expiration, thus acting as an accessory muscle of respiration. This fixation is important when we need to superimpose pelvic movements upon it. Furthermore, it increased activation in response to increasing compression in static upright standing postures.

Here is a video of a low back screen we often use

How is your foot is connected to your butt....?


If you have been following us for any length of time, you have heard us talk about how the lower kinetic chain is connected, how ankle rocker effects hip extension and how important hallux (great toe) extension is. 

What can we conclude from this study?

toe spreading exercises are important for reducing navicular drop (and thus mid foot pronation, at least statically)
In addition to increased abductor hallucis recruitment in ascending and descending stairs, when hip external rotation exercises were added along with toe spreading exercises folks had more recruitment of the vastus medialis (a closed chain external rotator of the leg and thigh)
Keep in mind:

the exercises given were all non weight bearing and open chain for the external rotators. Imagine what might have happened if they were both closed chain AND weight bearing!
They concentrated on the effects of toe spreading (AKA  lift/spread/reach) on the abductor hallucis. It also has far reaching effects on the dorsal interossei, long and short extensors of the toes. 

Abstract: The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of toe-spread (TS) exercises and hip external rotator strengthening exercises for pronated feet on lower extremity muscle activities during stair-walking. [Subjects and Methods] The participants were 20 healthy adults with no present or previous pain, no past history of surgery on the foot or the ankle, and no foot deformities. Ten subjects performed hip external rotator strengthening exercises and TS exercises and the remaining ten subjects performed only TS exercises five times per week for four weeks. [Results] Less change in navicular drop height occurred in the group that performed hip external rotator exercises than in the group that performed only TS exercises. The group that performed only TS exercises showed increased abductor hallucis muscle activity during both stair-climbing and -descending, and the group that performed hip external rotator exercises showed increased muscle activities of the vastus medialis and abductor hallucis during stair-climbing and increased muscle activity of only the abductor hallucis during stair-descending after exercise. [Conclusion] Stair-walking can be more effectively performed if the hip external rotator muscle is strengthened when TS exercises are performed for the pronated foot.

Goo YM, Kim DY, Kim TH. The effects of hip external rotator exercises and toe-spread exercises on lower extremity muscle activities during stair-walking in subjects with pronated foot. J Phys Ther Sci. 2016 Mar;28(3):816-9. doi: 10.1589/jpts.28.816. Epub 2016 Mar 31. 
link to  FREE FULL TEXT: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4842445/

Do you really understand what it takes to control the 1st Metatarsal during loading ?

Do you have dorsal (top) foot pain, at the peak of the arch? Think you are tying your shoes too tightly and that is the cause? Do you have pain over the dorsal or plantar mid foot on heel rise or jumping/landing or going up stairs ?

Just because you raise your heel and load the ball of the foot does not necessarily mean you have adequately plantarflexed the 1st metatarsal and loaded it soundly/stable with the medial tarsal bone. Heel rise, and thus loading onto the medial foot tripod, must be met with ample, stable, durable, 1st metatarsal plantarflexion and the associated medial tarsal bones. Also, without this, loading of the sesamoids properly cannot occur, and pain may ensue.

The first ray complex can be delicate in people who are symptomatic. In some people who do not have a good tibialis posterior-peroneus sling mechanism working harmoniously, in conjunction with a competent arch tripod complex to achieve a compentent arch complex (ie, EDL, EHL, tib anterior and some of the other foot intrinsics) this tarsometatarsal interval can become painful and instead of the 1st ray complex being stable and plantarflexing as the heel departs and the 1st ray begins taking load, it may not do so in a stable plantarflexed posturing. In some people it can momentarily dorsiflex as the arch subtly collapses (when it should be stable and supinated in heel rise).

"Subtle hypermobility of the first tarsometatarsal joint can occur concomitantly with other pathologies and may be difficult to diagnose. Peroneus Longus muscle might influence stability of this joint. Collapse of the medial longitudinal arch is common in flatfoot deformity and the muscle might also play a role in correcting Meary's angle."-Duallert et al

Soon, I hope to show you a video of how to watch for this problem, how to train it properly, how we do it in my office.
Dr. Allen


Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2016 May;34:7-11. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2016.03.001. Epub 2016 Mar 10.  The influence of the Peroneus Longus muscle on the foot under axial loading: A CT evaluated dynamic cadaveric model study. Dullaert K1, Hagen J2, Klos K3, Gueorguiev B4, Lenz M5, Richards RG6, Simons P7.


When one foot is shorter, and smaller. Gait thoughts to consider.

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This person had a congenital “club foot” at birth also know as congenital talipes equinovarus (CTEV). It is a congenital deformity involving one or both feet. In this case it affected the right foot (the smaller one).
Foot size is often measured with the Brannock device in shoe stores, you know, the weird looking thing with the slider that measures foot length and width. In this case, the right heel:ball ratio, the length from the heel to the first metatarsal head, is shorter. The heel:toe length is also shorter, nothing like stating the obvious ! IF they are shorter then the plantar fascia is shorter, the bones are shorter, the muscles are smaller etc.

So, the maximal height of the arch on the right when the foot is fully supinated is less than that of the left side when also fully supinated (ie. during the second half of the stance phase of gait). Even with maximal strength of the toe extensors which we spoke of yesterday will not sufficiently raise the arch on the right to the degree of the left.

Thus, this client is very likely to have a structural short leg. Certainly you must confirm it but you will likely see it in their gait if you look close enough.
Also, you must remember that the shorter foot will also spend fractionally less time on the ground and will reach toe off quicker than the left. This may also play into a subtle limp.
This client may have a mal-fitting shoe, the right foot will swim a little in a shoe that fits correctly on the left. You may be easily able to remedy all issues with a cork full length sole insert lifting both the heel and forefoot. This can negate the shoe size differential, change the toe off timing and remedy much of the short leg issue. You will know that the right foot at the metatarsal-phalangeal joint bending line will not be flexing where the shoe flexes on that right foot. The Right foot will be trying to bend proximal to the siping line where the shoe is supposed to naturally bend. This will place more stress into that foot. This brings up the rule for shoe fit: never size a persons shoe by pinching the toebox to see if there is ample room, the shoe should be fit to meet the great toe bend point to the flex point of the shoe.
Strength of muscles is directly proportional to the cross sectional area of the muscle. With smaller muscles, this right limb is very likely to be underpowered when compared to the left.
All of these issues can cause a failure of symmetrical hip rotation and pelvic distortion patterning.
Altered arm swing (most likely on the contralateral side) is very likely to accommodate to the smaller weaker right lower limb. Do not be surprised to hear about low back pain or tightness or neck/shoulder issues.
A shorter right leg, due to the issues we have discussed above, will place more impact load into the right hip ( from stepping down into the shorter leg) and more compressive load into the left hip (due to more demand on the left gluteus medius to attempt to lift the shorter leg during the right leg swing phase). This will also challenge the pelvic symmetry and can cause some minor frontal plane lumbar spine architecture changes (structural or functional scoliosis…… if you want to drop such a heavy term on it).

Gait plays deeply into everything. Never underestimate any asymmetry in the body. Some part as to take up the slack or take the hit.

post link:


The over extended knee, genu recurvatum. Watch your kids.

In 2011, in our infancy here at The Gait Guys, we were at the airport. And we saw this . . . .

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What do you see here in this young lady ? What you should see here matters. They are just visual things, and lead to visual hypotheses, but it is your job to prove or disprove them. If you like to play these kinds of mental gymnastic games, this is valuable work. This is the work that sets you up to move skillfully, quickly and confidently in the exam and treatment room.
Join us for a rewind, back to 2011.

A young lady with knee recurvatum. Even at the airport you are not safe from The Gait Guys !

Standing waiting for my parents luggage I had to do a double take when i saw this excessive genu recurvatum of the knees. Of course it was much worse in person because of the added dimension that a photo cannot give.  This poor gal probably doesn’t even know she needs us. 

What do we see here and what assumptions can we extrapolate (assumptions from mere standing of course)  ?:

We are going to keep it to things from pelvis down or we will be here all day.

  1. Anterior pelvis tilt. She appears to be sitting back into her pelvis so to speak, doing so we can see an increased lumbar lordosis pressing the pelvis anterior.  Combine this with suspect weak lower abdominals and the pelvis drops in the front. This position is often met with isometric contraction of the gluteals helping to maintain the forward/anterior shifted pelvis.
  2. The above, will create an abnormal (possibly increased) tensile load on the hamstrings since the ischeal tuberosities are being drawn cephalad (up). This can create a net posterior shift of the knee joint since she is in relative hip extennsion.
  3. The knees are likely locked into hyperextension. This will create meniscal tensions and certainly cause increased patellofemoral pressures.  This can also create the rarely diagnosed, but often present, anteriormeniscofemoral impingement syndrome. In this type of presentation the anterior compressive forces are so great compared to what should be balanced forces around the entire joint that the superior leading edge of the anterior mensicus (can affect medial or lateral menisci) begins to become impinged and irritated as the femur rolls and translates too far anterior. You have to know it exists to make the diagnosis.
  4. She will be in relative ankle plantarflexion instead of balancing the tibia neutrally over the talus.  Relative constant plantarflexion means shorter posterior compartment (gastroc-soleus) and usually weak anterior compartment (tibialis anterior and long extensors of toes).  If she is a runner we bet shin splints were on her holiday list of things to resolve. This gal will likely have problems controlling pronation we suspect because of such assumed imbalances.

These are just the sagittal plane flaws we can assume. There are more but this is plenty to think about right now. I was going to walk behind to take a pic so we could make some assumptions about the frontal plane, but people all around were already getting suspicious of me snap photos of so many of them. 

Remember, these are just assumptions from a single static photo. Like in video analysis, anything you pic up on film is just a compensation. It does not tell you what you have wrong until you can test them for neuromuscular integrity and motor pattern assessments.  Do not hang your hat on photos or video analysis. Do the extra work that is required.  After all, you know where ASSUMPTIONS get us.

Oh, and we must not forget to once again thank Mr. UGG boot for helping add another dimension of challenge to this lovely lady ! Although this assumption would be better made off of a frontal plane photo.

Beware of geeks in the airport and shopping malls snapping photos and video. It is likely us, The Gait Guys.

Shawn and Ivo

rewind: https://thegaitguys.tumblr.com/post/14809328401/a-young-lady-with-knee-recurvatum-even-at-the

Peroneus brevis is a more effective evertor than peroneus longus

"A primary function of the peroneus longus and peroneus brevis is to provide the eversion moment necessary to balance the opposing inversion moments. "
The peronei have to be rehabilitated when injured, and they have to be strong to effectively control that rear and midfoot and work in a balance fashion. This is not a simple task and this will take some specific focused efforts, in our experience. On example we would strongly suggest would be to put far more focus on loaded weight bearing peroneal challenges in various heel heights rather that waste time with non-weight bearing band/theraloop work, it just cannot replicate the loaded rear/mid/forefoot.

Foot and Ankle. 2004 Apr;25(4):242-6.Peroneus brevis is a more effective evertor than peroneus longus.Otis JC1, Deland JT, Lee S, Gordon J.


Arm swing and Gait Stability

"When discussing the effects of arm swing on gait stability, it is
necessary to start with a definition of gait stability. In steady-state gait, infinitesimally small perturbations are ever present, and the system’s response to such perturbations may be called local stability. When gait is externally perturbed, global stability can be assessed by quantifying the response to such a perturbation. Following Bruijn et al. [12], in human gait, this response may be divided into two phases: an initial phase, which is dependent upon both the steady state of the system (as it was before the perturbation) and the system’s intrinsic mechanical properties (e.g. inertia, stiffness), and a second, reactive phase (‘recovery’), which is mainly dependent on active control and reflexes." - P. Meyns et al. / Gait & Posture 38 (2013) 555–562

*The how and why of arm swing during human walking
Pieter Meyns a,1 , Sjoerd M. Bruijn a,b,1, Jacques Duysens a,c,

Planks for 10 seconds ?

Take this new "McGill'ism" with a grain of salt and in the context it may have been given, ie. for general core strength for the average person.
For what we do however, we do not agree this is a rule to follow. In our clients, when working on functional stability deficits, adhering to a 10 second rule won't often make sense to resolve the issues of planar skill, endurance or strength deficits.


Nose picking and your running form problems.

Nose picking and running form

I use an example, with the appropriate clients, that humidifying one's home in the dry winter to try and break a nose picking behavior that was borne of resultant dry mucous linings doesn't necessarily mean one will break the 3 month habit of nose picking.
Furthermore, just because you decide to humidify the house doesn't mean your brain is going to halt the nose picking that has become a subconscious habit. Similarly, consciously asking someone to turn in their externally rotated foot (increased foot progression angle) or turn in the entire limb during gait, which might have been the result of frontal plane weakness of the ankle from an ankle sprain, isn't going to fix a problem that has now become an adaptive compensatory behavior at the hip. One has to get to the root of the problem, the unaddressed ankle sprain and neurologic behavioral adaptive patterns, at both the ankle and the hip. Plus, it just might get you to stop picking your beak, although, some sources now say that a good digested booger might be good for your immune system (probably a piece written by a happy confident picker).
- a Monday morning Dr. Allen rant

Got Short leg?

Ahhhh. They get it!


Our favorite quote from this article " Understanding limb-length compensation
We encourage you to pay as much attention to any abnormal compensation pattern as you do to the LLD itself. It is well documented that abnormal biomechanics, such as you would find in a compensatory pattern, can result in vibratory forces and microtrauma along the closed kinetic chain (Figure 1). The spinal facet; hip, knee, ankle and foot joints; and their associated muscles may suffer repetitive microtrauma resulting in sprain, strain, or degenerative joint disease. By addressing compensatory neuro-musculoskeletal function, you may be able to assist the patient with a cascade of dysfunction through the musculoskeletal system.

We also encourage you to make use of gait assessment technology to quantify, document, and monitor patients’ progress. Application of reproducible, documented metrics is essential to communicate effectively within a multidisciplinary system that is committed to practicing evidence-based medicine."


So, what attaches to that hip capsule anyway....

I was trying to figure to which muscles attached to the labrum of the hip, as I see many folks where theres has gone south. I had always wondered if the iliopsoas attached, since many people with labral pathology have hip flexor dysfunction, where they use their psoas and iliacus as hip flexion initiators (or sometimes the rectus femoris, TFL and sartorius), instead of the abdominals. It turns out that NO MUSCLES attach to the labrum, but some attach to the capsule. 

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Have you noticed that many of the muscles on the list below (not the obturator internus) are internal rotators AND work during the 1st part of stance phase? Remember "glide and roll"? With internal rotation of the hip comes posterior translation of the femoral head. If these are dysfunctional, you may get capsular "pinching". Think about it with the next patient with hip joint pain from initial contact to midstance. 

"An updated knowledge of the intricate relationship of the pericapsular and capsular structures is essential in guiding our treatment of the hip. Following dissection the authors were able to discern that the iliocapsularis, indirect head of the rectus, conjoint tendon (of the psoas and iliacus),  obturator externus and gluteus minimus all have consistent capsular contributions whereas the piriformis did not have a capsular attachment."


Walters BL, Cooper JH, Rodriguez JA New findings in hip capsular anatomy: dimensions of capsular thickness and pericapsular contributions.
Arthroscopy. 2014 Oct;30(10):1235-45. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2014.05.012. Epub 2014 Jul 23.

4 ways to fix your running stride ? ummmm

Just too simple and cooked down an article for us.
eh, maybe 2 of these have some value. But we wouldn't head to the bank on them. We have plenty of pro runners who have a decent hallux rigidus and compensate surprisingly well. But, if it ain't broken, and causing other things to become broken, leave it alone. Consider making anatomic anomalies more durable when you cannot fix or change them. As for premature heel rise, "stretch the calf", that is all they were willing to come up with? Our readers know to go a little deeper (anterior compartment assessement, hip extension assessment etc). Zero mention of hip as a cause. He merely touched on the hip drop one in our post yesterday, but that is a goliath of a topic. Read with a jaundiced eye.

4 Ways to Fix Your Running Stride

A seasoned biomechanics expert offers his top insights on running-form danger signs


Plantar flexion matters, too. Don't get stuck only on ankle rocker/dorsiflexion.

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Plantarflexion matters, too.
"one must gain posterior length through anterior strength, lose the strength, lose the length."

We always seem to be harping on ankle rocker and ankle dorsiflexion. But, ankle plantarflexion matters just as much, but in different ways. This study went off of plantarflexion contracture, but we see shortness in the gastroc and soleus all the time, it seems in fact to go with loss of anterior compartment weakness, which is in essence, a functional (if not more truly restricted) loss of ankle rocker. Typically these 2 beasts are both in the same shopping bag. It is why we like to say, "one must gain posterior length through anterior strength, lose the strength, lose the length." This is not to say that shortness, tightness or contracture are the same thing, in fact they are on completely different spectrums. But, losing "posterior mechanism" length (short, tight or contracture), for whatever reason will do many potentially bad things to one's gait cycle and biomechanics. There are too many here of those to name, but, a functionally longer leg, tendency towards knee extension, knee flexion accomodation, early heel rise, abrupt departure from the limb and and abruptly onto the contralateral side, increased forefoot loading problems, toe clenching, loss of hip extension, impaired hip extension, increased quadriceps tone (and thus possible increased PF joint compression), changes in step and stride length and step width are just the start of some of the things your brain needs to start juggling.

The above are some of the thoughts immediately triggered by reading this abstract , , ,

Clinical Biomechanics. Volume 29, Issue 4, April 2014, Pages 423-428
The impact of simulated ankle plantarflexion contracture on the knee joint during stance phase of gait: A within-subject study
Joan Leung, Richard Smith, Lisa Anne Harvey. Anne M. Moseley, JosephChapparo

Do you really understand a runner's hips ? Coaching out things you don't like to see doesn't make it a "fix".

"All the technique in the world doesn't compensate for the inability to notice"- Elliott Erwitt

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Excerpt: "So if your remedy for this runner is to just add a "loaded Farmer's carry" on the opposite side, your thinking is right if it is a strength issue in the contralateral hip. IF it is an endurance issue you need a lighter weight and more unilateral Farmer's carrying. If it is a weight management issue, you may be poking the bear. Maybe it is a multitude of issues. "

There are loads of folks taking 'this' seminar series, or 'that' one, striving for 'this' certification or 'that' one. This is trememdous, it keeps the professions moving. But, all the technique in the world doesn't mean a thing if one cannot see, feel, test, or most importantly comprehend and express a client's primary flaw(s) in mobility and stability. The right tools in unskilled hands are useless, and arguably present risks for clients.

We have said this many times, too many for certain, that what you see in your client is not their problem, it is their means of moving within their present abilities and dysfunctions for whatever reason (ie. lack of skill, endurance, strength, power etc). We have also said that a mere exercise, test or screen doesn't take one to the end zone either, they are also a mere piece of the bigger puzzle. An exercise or test also may only tell you what they are capable (or incapable of), but not why their pain or challenges exist. Thus, taking a failed test, and making it your client's new exercise does not necessarily create an environment for a remedy, it can in fact create one of a more durable compensation. And that is ok, if that is what you are searching for, if that is the emergency bandaid you need before the marathon in 3 weeks, but if you are swinging for the remedy, you may have to trudge the extra yard.

Last week we taught about some basic hip principles during our online class. Take this runner photo for example, below is a basic principle you must glean from the photo. It is a principle based off of remedial joint biomechanics, as incomplete as it is, the thought process should be one you consider and certainly comprehend. In this photo, this runner appears to have insufficient stance phase hip abductor (HAM) strength or endurance. This is in part notable because of the adduction of the contralateral thigh (this is a faulty swing leg pendulum mechanical event, and will undoubtedly lead to a cross over gait and a plethora of other gait problems).

Here is one question that should always come to mind:
Are the stance phase hip abductors strong enough, or have enough endurance, to offset the body mass ? (see the line diagrams). Look at the diagram formula, and let us discuss.
If the pelvis is to remain level (mostly), the D1 and D2 lever arms do not change, the D1 lever arm is always shorter and thus the HAM (Hip abductor muscle strength) will always have to be a large number to offset the BQ (body weight). If BW gets too large, there will be no HAM large enough to offset BW and the pelvis will dip, as in this runner's photo. So, it can be a weight issue, a HAM strength issue, a HAM endurance issue or both. Someone is going to win, and someone is going to pay if the system is not balances and durable. We see this in the failed frontal plane running mechanics all the time in our offices, this is a plague in runners. It is a major source of the spine, pelvis, hip knee and foot issues we see in runners. To fix these clients, you have to understand their mechanics. The latest rehab toy that you bought at after a jazzy seminar pitch doesn't replace the requisite knowledge one needs to have to understand a clients problem. Screens won't get you all the way, tests and pattern assessments won't get you all the way either. You have to do your learning part, the knowledge must precede your interventions.

So if your remedy for this runner is to just add a "loaded Farmer's carry" on the opposite side, your thinking is right if it is a strength issue in the contralateral hip. IF it is an endurance issue you need a lighter weight and more unilateral Farmer's carrying. If it is a weight management issue, you may be poking the bear. Maybe it is a multitude of issues. But, if it is a mobility issue, adding your Farmer's carry doesn't guarantee you will get the client to the promised land, and if it is a stability issue, perhaps you get close.
* This article does not chase down deeper evaluation concepts such as narrow step width, femoral torsions, tibial torsions, swing phase gait mechanic failures, sagittal plane (A-P pelvis control) or rotational plane challenges to the system (failure to control limb rotation at the hip or at the foot) just to name a few. This article ONLY looked at the frontal plane concept, so hopefully one is gleaning how complex these biomechanics are. Hopefully one is gleaning at this point that this is not a spot corrective exercise prescription game, "here is the visually disturbing pattern, here is the exercise to eclipse that pattern". There does need to be some brain engagement in the process to do this right, and this means education and hands on clinical examination.

The Farmer's carry is a beautiful exercise when placed correctly in a client's regimen. There are many who say we take this game too completely, too precisely, too far, that we make this too complex and if one listens to us that one might develop stage fright to execute any intervention. Well, sorry, but we stand our ground. This is not an easy game. Too many people come to see us after intermediate regimens of training and lifting develop problems, problems that were not present at the initiation of their attempts to better they body. If one is being honest with themselves, they should ask themselves, could this have been prevented? Was the work prescribed part of the eventual deliverance? Injuries occur when loads exceed durability, skill, endurance, strength, power etc. One could make the case that if the prescriptions are correct, if the progressions are correct, that injury should be a rare thing. But injuries are not uncommon and those of us who are prescribing corrective exercises and workout regimens have to take self accountability if we are being honest with ourselves.
Don't get us wrong, we are just as much a pupil on this bus as anyone else, we make mistakes all the time. But everyday we force ourselves to pause, consider, double check, reassess, to make sure that the developing patterns are sound, strong, durable and progressive, and ready for more. And when we get it wrong, we reexamine, and try again. It is all one can do.

Stir about your own clinical world with a jaundiced, questioning eye, and you should do just fine. And if you cannot get it right, get it close, prescribe something safe and watch and test for clues of developing problems in the near future. This we all call . . . . learning/ practice.

"All the technique in the world doesn't compensate for the inability to notice"- Elliott Erwitt

Shawn Allen, one of the gait guys

Rewind: Walking gait in a pencil skirt

Gait Pathomechanics: Walking in a Pencil Skirt.

We wrote this piece 5 years ago. We are updating it with a new disasterous video. Speed ahead to the 30 second mark to get to the good stuff. The Gait stuff.
No longer can there be adequate use of the obliquity of the pelvis and thus abdominals or contralateral leg swing to initiate supination and toe off and . . .

blog link: https://www.thegaitguys.com/…/gait-pathomechanics-walking-i…


The glutes are in fact great internal hip rotators, too. Open your mind.

The glutes as an internal rotator ? Yes, to understand squats and lunges and deep hip flexion activities one needs to understand that the glutes , which we typically perceive as hip extensors and external rotators, can also assist in internal rotation. Which, we explain in this 2 years old rewind blog post.
We discussed this at length in our online teleseminar last night. Join us for this and other deep gait and biomechanics topics every 3rd Wednesday of the month !

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I recently got a message from a colleague questioning as to how in the world, that when the hip is in flexion, the glutes and piriformis become internal rotators.  This is again another example of lack of functional anatomy knowledge.  It took me awhile to find a picture to help explain this, but I finally found one reasonable to do so. Many readers who are stuck on this concept are just too stuck on the anatomy as presented in the image to the right, neutral stance-like.  This article today will be all about internal and external moment arms, here, this lecture will help a little, it is on glute medius internal moment arms in stance phase however, so there is little carry over but it will at least get you understanding moment arms more clearly. 

We tend to just think of the glute max as a hip stabilizer and extensor, for the most part. It also decelerates flexion in terminal swing.  The glute medius is mostly thought of as a lateral hip stabilizer and abductor, either of the femur (open chain) or of the pelvis in stance position (closed chain), meaning zero degrees or neutral plus or minus the trivial degrees of engaged hip flexion and extension used in normal gait.

No one I know consciously trains the glutes as an internal rotator, but there are many actions where we need this function, such as in crawling and many high functioning activities such as martial arts grappling and kicking for example. Gymnasts should also know that the glutes are powerful internal hip rotators.  If you are doing quadruped crawling work you also need to know this as your client approaches 90 degrees of hip flexion. No one ever seems to check this critical gluteal function, at least I see it missed all the time from my referring doctors and therapists for unresolving hip pain cases. Patients with hip pain, anterior, lateral or posterior, with lack of internal hip rotation need the glutes checked just as much as the other known internal hip rotators we all seem to know (though some still do not understand how powerful the vastus lateralis is as an internal rotator, but again, those are folks who just have not spend the time in a mental 3D space looking at functional anatomy. I live mentally in that 3D space all day long when working with patients, you should too.) Let me be more clear, the anterior bundle, the iliac bundle of the glute max, is an internal rotator in flexion, the sacral and coccyxgeal divisions are not, they are external hip rotators in flexion. The gluteus medius and minimus are internal hip rotators closing in on 90 degrees hip flexion.  Hence, you must be able to tease out these divisions in your muscle testing, one cannot just test the glutes as external rotators or extensors, you are doing a really sloppy job if that is all you are doing. Nor should someone just train the glutes as hip stabilizers, external hip rotators and extensors (which is probably 90% of the trainers and coaches out there I might assume?). IF one knows the origin and insertions (see the blue and green arrows) and moves those points towards each other in a fashion of concentric contraction (purple arrows) one should be able to easily see that this will orient the femur to spin into internal rotation in the acetabulum (follow the arc of the black arrows). The same goes for eccentric contractions, it is the same game.  If you are doing DNS and crawling work, you should know this stuff cold gang. When you close chain the hip in sitting, or are moving from tall kneeling into flexed kneeling chops, performing high knees in sprint training,  or especially in crawling and climbing type actions, you must understand the mechanisms of internal rotation creation and stabilization -- if the glutes are not present and trained and useful in flexion, you are missing a chunk of something big. Amongst many other things, your client must be capable, stable, strong and skilled in moving from supine to quadruped all in one turning-over motion to teach how to stabilize the hip in the quadruped action and then progress into crawling.  This is a reflexive action learned in the early motor developmental phase of locomotion.  So take your client back through this motor pattern if they have some of the hip problems with internal rotation, it is a small piece of the gluteal puzzle.

I am sure this will show up in someone's seminar at some point, hopefully it is in many already, it has always been in my lectures when going down the rabbit hole of all things glutes. And to be fair, I haven't been to seminars in years as I get too frustrated, so this concept may be everywhere for all I know (lets hope).  But that is something I have to get over, I am sure I still have much to learn.  

To give credit where credit is due, which we always insist upon here at The Gait Guys, this was refreshed in my mind by Greg Lehman in a Facebook post forwarded to me by the inquiring doctor.   Link here  and from the article that spurred him to discuss it, an old article I read long ago just after completing my residency, the article is by Delp et al.  It is worth your time.  Thanks Greg for bringing this back into the dialogue, it is critical base knowledge everyone should already know. 

Variation of rotation moment arms with hip flexion.  Scott L. Delp,*, William E. Hess, David S. Hungerford, Lynne C. Jones  J. of Biomechanics 32, (1999)

-Dr. Shawn Allen, the other Gait Guy

link: https://www.thegaitguys.com/thedailyblog/2016/12/7/the-glutes-are-in-fact-great-internal-hip-rotators-too-open-your-mind

Pincer Toe nails: You've seen them; did you know what they were and how they got that way? Or, did you dismiss them?

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We think Hitomi’s hypothesis is correct. Here is why (this is paraphrased from our blog post on subungal hematomas and our revolutionary thinking on why they occur and it seems to fit well with pincer nail formation as well).

… when the skin is pulled at a differential rate over the distal phalange (from gripping of the toes rather than downward pressing through the toe pad) there will be a net lifting response of the nail from its bed as the skin is drawn forward of the backward drawn phalange (there is a NET movement of skin forward thus lifting the nail from its bedding). For an at-home example of this, put your hand AND fingers flat on a table top. Now activate JUST your distal long finger flexors so that only the tip of the fingers are in contact with the table top (there will be a small lifting of the fingers). There should be minimal flexion of the distal fingers at this point. Note the spreading and flattening of the nail. Now, without letting the finger tip-skin contact point move at all from the table, go ahead and increase your long flexor tone/pull fairly aggressively. You are in essence trying to pull the finger backward into flexion while leaving the skin pad in the same place on the table. Feel the pressure building under the distal tip of the finger nail as the skin is RELATIVELY drawn forward.] This is fat pad and skin being drawn forward (relative to the phalange bone being drawn backward) into the apex of the nail. Could this be magnifying the curvature of the nail and not offsetting the “automatic curving and shrinkage” function of the nail ? We think it is quite possible.

We have more to say on this topic, the above is just an excerpt of our blog post. More here, in the link below

The season to pathologize our feet is upon us. Toe extension matters.

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I blew out my flip flop,
Stepped on a pop top;
Cut my heel, had to cruise on back home.
But there's booze in the blender,
And soon it will render
That frozen concoction that helps me hang on. - Jimmy Buffett

I continue to see more and more people with inadequate toe extension. It is complicated. I see those who do not even have the awareness of toe extension, loss of strength of toe extension, loss of endurance of toe extension, loss of global range of toe extension (dorsiflexion at the MTP joint), more failure of long toe extensor (EHL) strength and more prominence of increased short toe extensor strength (EDB) and more frightening, a lack of disassociation of toe extension (MTP dorsiflexion) and ankle dorsiflexion. Many clients when asked to life their toes, will drive into ankle mortise dorsiflexion; ask them to just purely toe dorsiflex and the mental games begin, a wrinkled brow, intense concentration. If you cannot extended the toes sitting, how are you going to find them in swing phase of gait when balance, and other things, are more important?
Stand and lift your toes. The arch should go up, you have engaged the Windlass Mechanism, that winds up the plantar fascia and raised the arch. If you do not have competent, unconsciously competent, toe extension, your arch is not all that it can, and should, be. If you cannot raise your toes, thus raise the arch, thus plantarflex the first metatarsal, then in gait, when the foot is on the ground, you cannot properly position the sesamoids, properly get safe terminal ranges of hallux dorsiflexion at toe off, properly position the foot for loading and unloading, adequately achieve ankle dorsiflexion, adequately offer the hip a chance for ample hip extension, offer the glutes optimal chance to work in all phases to help control spin of the limb during loading and unloading, and the list goes on and on. I am sure I left much out there, this was written in a few minutes and unedited, just a short rant for the weekend. But if you have not championed toe extension, both in an unloaded and loaded foot (on the ground), achieved control of both long and short extensor muscles to the toes (and paired them well with the long and short toe flexors), disassociated toe extension from ankle dorsiflexion, and then figured out how to properly, timely, engage all these processes into your gait unconsciously, you are working on less of an optimal system than you should be. So, if your feet hurt, hips hurt, or a plethora of other problems that you are trying to fix with orthotics or other toys, maybe start with, "can you lift your toes?". It is a piece of the puzzle, trust me.
Or, you can just stay in your flip flops and perpetuate your toe flexion and wait for bad things to take root After all, tis the season soon !
Yes, toe extension in flip flops (we must flex our toes to keep them on) is as rare as a good multi-tasking man.

Shawn Allen, one of the gait guys.