Understanding what went wrong in this runner to cause unilateral Right shoe “toe off” wear pattern is important. It happens alot. Many times it doesn’t get this far but there is evidence on a shoe, more on one side, none the less. It is quite often “What is wrong with the part/person that goes into a shoe”, than “the shoe itself”. It wasn’t the Newton Shoe in this case (it is almost never a shoe material issue), it was the limb attached to it. The shoes are the window to the gait cycle!
This is one of our running clients. They presented with some right hamstring soreness and pain after longer runs. There were no foot complaints, the shoe wear pattern was just something that we felt was interesting to share as it made sense with their clinical presentation.
Client clinically demonstrated:
inhibited right glute max
tight right quadriceps
weak right lower abdominals
Subsequent to #1-3 above there was a loss of right hip extension, thus shortened right stride. When hip extension is limited the heel rise is premature and the calf engagement can be premature. When premature the calf is asked to lift the person during midstance instead of forward propulsion and its other activities during late midstance.
Premature heel rise, premature calf muscle engagement, premature foot plantarflexion all lead to greater pressure at the forefoot and thus through toe off……plus some hamstrings complaining as well !
Knowing your gait cycles, knowing which muscles should fire at a given time in the gait cycle, and knowing why they fire and what joints they stabilize is a valuable tool in diagnosis of a runners issues. Of course, it would be very simple to say “hey, you are toeing off real hard on that right side”. “BRILLIANT SHERLOCK ! ” would be our first response, there is nothing like stating the obvious. But the how and why is where the brain actually needs to be engaged, and when it is, things can get very interesting and fun in figuring out what is going on in athletes and patients. Knowing how and why things happen allows you to fix the problem. And in this case if you are attempting to fix this person at the level of the foot you are missing the true problem originating at the hip. And when you know the origin of the problem in this case, you also get a new shoe wear pattern for the next shoes and best of all, you conquer a chronic hamstring problem as well.
Shawn and Ivo………. Pipe smoking English sleuths…….. (OK, we are good at the board game CLUE and nothing more, who are we kidding !)
The Gait Guys
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