“Is your client feeling better because they are truly fixed, or have your prescribed corrective exercises merely raised the capacity and durability of their compensation ? Welcome to a global industry problem.” -Dr. Allen
Which hip will have troubles extending ?
Remember this quiz question from 2 weeks ago ? I talked about how the body will compensate to level the pelvis (and eyes and vestibular apparatus).
Lets go further down the rabbit hole. Here is your question of the week (you may have to go back and review the prior blog post if you are unsure of how the body will cope with the slope. Here is that first blog post.
Question: Which hip will have troubles getting into hip extension and thus terminal glute-hip-pelvis stabilization ?
Answer: scroll down (at least think about it for a second)
The leg on the up slope of the beach, the non-water side leg will have to be in a modest degree of knee flexion to shorten and accommodate to the slope. A Flexed knee is not an extended one and it will be far more difficult to extend the hip and get into the glutes. Propulsion will also be compromised. For you indoor small track runners this will happen to you on the inside leg on the curves of the track. This is why we see so many hamstring injuries during indoor track. Think about it ! It is not just bad luck. Go ahead, tally up your teams history of hamstring injuries, you should find more on the left leg for track runners. It is simple applied biomechanics. Also, imagine the altered demand on the quadriceps on that flexed knee (the right knee in the picture above, and the left knee in circle track runners). Furthermore, what is the likelihood that the right pelvis will deviate into an anterior tilted posture ? You bet ya, a greater tendency, and thus a possibly shortened quadriceps/hip flexor mechanism. Do you think this could inhibit hip extension and gluteal function ? You bet ya. Oh, and one more thing, if you are true gait nerd, you should have asked yourself one more question, what about ankle rocker ? Yes, you will need more ankle rocker on the beach side foot (flexed knee side). When the knee flexes, there must be more ankle rocker for this to occur, if not, you may implode into some unwelcome arch collapse, because arch collapse offers more false ankle rocker. What a mess huh ! Now, do not be shocked EVER again when your client’s come back from a sunny beach vacation from walking the beaches for hours every day, and find themselves a stark raving mad mess. It is not the salty ocean air or the tequila, it is the slope. One could make a case that walking up and down the beach should balance things out, but that is only if we are balanced and symmetrical when we start out. Gravity always wins.
One final rant. If you are offering “corrective exercises” to your clients, you had better know at least the basics of movement and biomechanics. And further more, you had better know how to examine for them, and that means hands on assessment of the body, not just looking at how your client moves through a battery of tests. If the prior blog post (here) and today’s blog post principles are not remedial principles of knowledge for you, offering corrective exercises without this knowledge and a physical exam to confirm your assumptions is fraught with disaster, or at least helping your client to build deeper compensations on their prior compensations. Is your client feeling better because they are truly fixed, or have your prescribed corrective exercises merely raised the capacity and durability of their compensation ? This is the kind of stuff that keeps my new patient scheduling booked at 4-8 weeks out … . . frustrated clients.
This is why we do not offer online consultations like some do. Because, we have not figured out how to obtain the third dimension needed in our gait and movement observation (thank you Oculus Rift, the future is near) but more so, we cannot take that information and put it together with our own physical examination to determine whether if what we are seeing is the actual problem, or a compensation. Here in lies the pot of gold.
Another clinical pearl from Dr. Allen
The Gait Guys
Email us: our email is found under the "Disclaimer" Tab above.