Crossing over, running on the line. The narrow step width, we know you do it.

Screen Shot 2018-01-27 at 10.48.00 AM.png

This one, on archive Friday, is a great follow up to our cross over video case earlier this week. Crossing over gait causes increased lateral foot strike, further than normal heel strike (if you choose or naturally deviate towards that type of strike) and often maintenance of lateral foot loads even into midfoot loading response times. It can, and often does, lead to greater, faster, more abrupt pronation and as we discussed earlier this week, troubles with efficient high gear toe off (medial foot/big toe off). It also requires more frontal plane pelvis and hip stability as we discuss here today on a blog post from 2014. The frontal plane will be challenged for its durability because it is obvious from the photo here, that the hip, knee and foot are not vertically stacked, not even remotely. Do you have enough frontal plane stability to endure the liabilities in this typically more efficient narrow step width style of running ? That is the big question. If your ITB is chronically tight, there is reason. if you run this way and have problems later into your long runs, there is a reason (endurance in even the muscles fade, not just cardiovascularly). Read on . . .

Saucony: Line Running and Crossing Over

We are big fans of the Saucony line of shoes. We have recommended them to our novice and serious runners for decades now. Currently one of our favorite shoes for our runners is the Saucony Mirage, a beautiful 4mm ramp shoe with no bells and whistles.  It is as close to a perfect zero drop that  you will find without going zero, in our opinion.  That is not to say there are not other great 4mm shoes out there, the Brooks Cadence and the New balance minimus are other beautiful 4mm’s out there.  The Mirage has never failed a single client of ours.  

This was a photo we screen captured from the Saucony Facebook page (we hope that for the sake of educating all runners and athletes that we can borrow this picture for this blog post, please contact us if you would like us to remove it). It is a good page, you should follow it as well.  This picture shows not only a nice shoe but something that we have been talking about forever.  The cross over; this runner is running in such a line that it could be argued that the feet are crossing the mid line. In this case, is the line queuing the runner to strike the line ? Careful of subconscious queues when you run, lines are like targets for the eyes and brain.  One thing we like to do with our runners is to use the line as training however, a form of behavioral modification.  When you do a track workout, use the line underneath you, but keep the feet on either side of the line so that you learn to create that little bit of limb /hip abduction that helps to facilitate the hip abductor muscles.  This will do several things, (and you can do a search here on our blog for all these things), it will reduce the reflexive tightening of the ITBand (pay attention all you chronic IT band foam rolling addicts !), it will facilitate less frontal plane pelvis sway, optimal stacking of the lower limb joints, cleaner patellofemoral tracking and help to reduce excessive pronation /internal limb spin effects.  

There is really nothing negative about correcting your cross over, IF it truly needs correcting.  That is the key question.  Some people may have anatomic reasons as to why the cross over is their norm, but you have to know  your anatomy, biomechanics and neuromechanics and bring them together into a competent clinical examination to know when the correction will lead to optimal gait and when it will drive suboptimal gait. Just because you see it and think it is bad, does not make it so.  

New to this cross over stuff ? Head over to the search box here on our blog and type in “cross over” or “cross over gait” and you will find dozens of articles and some great videos we have done to help you better grasp it. 

* you will also note that this runner is in an excessive lateral forefoot strike posturing.  This means that excessive and abrupt prontation will have to follow through the mid-forefoot in order to get the medial foot tripod down and engaged.  The question is however, is what you are seeing a product of the steep limb angle from the cross over, or does this runner have a forefoot varus (functional or anatomic, rigid or flexible)?  Are the peronei muscles weak, making pre-contact foot/ankle eversion less than optimal ? This is an important point, and your clinical examination will define that right away … . . if you know what these things are.  And if you don’t ? Well, you have found the right blog, one with a SEARCH box. Type in “forefoot varus”, if you want to open up the rabbit hole and climb down it … . . we dare ya ! :-)