Holy Forefoot Flare, Batman!

Some sources say foot strike pattern does not matter. We disagree.

Look at this gal who midfoot/forefoot strikes. She also has a forefoot supinatus, a plastic condition where the forefoot is inverted with respect to the rearfoot. Take that combination and put it in a shoe with a forefoot flare and what do you get? Can you say AMPLIFICATION?

We’re not saying this is a bad shoe or even the wrong shoe. But, if she is going to run in this shoe, we will need to help her gain more ROM in her forefoot ( and some pelvic and hip stability) dodge doesn’t have to crash into eversion on each landing.

Help your patients with shoe selection. Something with less of a lateral flare in the forefoot would certainly make her life easier.

Need to know more? Consider taking our National Shoe Fit Program: link here:

Dr Ivo Waerlop, one of The Gait Guys

#badshoes #forefootflare #thegaitguys #forefootsupinatus #lateralflare #inversion

Metatarsalgia happens...

So a patient presents with forefoot pain, worse in the am upon awakening, with 1st weight bearing that would improve somewhat during the day, but would again get worse toward the end of the day and with increased activity. It began insidiously a few months ago (like so many problems do) and is getting progressively worse. Rest, ice and ibuprofen can offer some relief. You may see a dropped metatarsal head and puffiness and prominence in that area on the plantar surface of the foot, maybe not. Maybe you do a diagnostic ultrasound and see a lesion of the plantar plate as well? How did it get there? 

image courtesy of Tom Michaud: with permission

image courtesy of Tom Michaud: with permission

Lets look at the anatomy of the short flexors of the foot, as well as some biomechanics of the foot, ankle and hip. 

The flexor digitorum brevis (FDB) is innervated by the medial plantar nerve and arises from the medial aspect of the calcaneal tuberosity, the plantar aponeurosis (ie: plantar fascia) and the areas bewteen the plantar muscles. It travels distally, splitting at the metatarsal phalangeal articulation (this allows the long flexors to travel forward and insert on the distal phalanges); the ends come together to divide yet another time and each of the 2 portions of that tendon insert onto the middle of the middle phalanyx (1) 

As a result, in conjunction with the lumbricals, the FDB is a flexor of the metatarsophalangeal and proximal interphalangeal joints. In addition, it moves the axis of rotation of the metatasophalangeal joints dorsally, to counter act the function of the long flexors, which, when tight or overactive, have a tendency to drive this articulation anteriorly .Do you see any subtle extension of the metatarsophalangeal joint and flexion of the proximal interphalangeal joints on your exam?

We know that the FDB contracts faster than the other intrinsic muscles (2), playing a role in postural stability (3) and that the flexors temporally should contract earlier than the extensors (4), assumedly to move this joint axis posteriorly and allow proper joint centration. When this DOES NOT occur, the metatarsal heads are driven into the ground, causing irritation and pain.

If there is also a loss of ankle rocker this problem is made (much) worse. Why? Because, with the loss of one rocker, another must make up for the loss: ankle rocker decreases, forefoot rocker has to increase; this equals increased metatarsal head pressure. 

If you have been with us for any length of time, you know that ankle rocker and hip extension are intimately related, as one should equal the other, something we call “The “Z” angle”, that you have probably (hopefully?) read about here before. 

So what is the fix? Getting the FDB back on line for one. 

  • How about the toe waving exercise? 

  • How about the lift spread reach exercise? 

  • How about retraining ankle rocker and improving hip extension?

  • How about an orthotic with a metatarsal pad in the short term? 

  • How about some inflammation reducing modalities, like acupuncture, ice laser and pulsed ultrasound. 

  • Maybe some herbal or enzymatic anti inflammatories?

Dr Ivo Waerlop, one of The Gait Guys.

#gait #footpain #metatarsalgia #metatarsalpain #anklerocker #hipextension #thegaitguys

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexor_digitorum_brevis_muscle

2. Tosovic D1, Ghebremedhin E, Glen C, Gorelick M, Mark Brown J.The architecture and contraction time of intrinsic foot muscles.J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2012 Dec;22(6):930-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2012.05.002. Epub 2012 Jun 27

3.Okai LA1, Kohn AF. Quantifying the Contributions of a Flexor Digitorum Brevis Muscle on Postural Stability.Motor Control. 2014 Jul 15. [Epub ahead of print]

4. Zelik KE1, La Scaleia V, Ivanenko YP, Lacquaniti F.Coordination of intrinsic and extrinsic foot muscles during walking.Eur J Appl Physiol. 2014 Nov 25. [Epub ahead of print]

The muscle they named wrong?

Why would you name a muscle after its supposed function when its function is actually something totally different? Probably due to what made sense from how it looked, not by how it acted. Of course, we are talking about the abductor hallucis.


Think about all the anatomy you have learned over the years. Think about all the taxonomy and how it was done: sometimes by thename of the discoverer and more often by its anatomical location. The abductor hallucis seems to be the latter. 

The abductor and adductor hallicus function from approximately midstance to pre swing (1-4) (toe off), applying equal and opposite rotational vectors of force (in an ideal world) of the proximal phalynx of the hallux. This should resolve into a purely compressive force (5). In a closed chain environment, the transverse head of the adductor hallicus should act to prevent “splay” of metatarsals, along with the lumbricals and interossei (6), providing stabilzation of the forefoot (7) and rearfoot (8) during preswing, while the oblique head serves to help maintain the medial longitudinal arch. 

The abductor hallicus is actually a misnomer, as it most cases it is not an abductor but rather a plantar flexor of the 1st ray, particularly the proximal hallux, (assisting the peroneus longus) and supinator about the oblique midtarsal joint axis (5).  In the majority of cases, there doesn’t appear to be a separate, distinct insertion of the adductor hallicus to the base of the proximal phalynx, but rather a conjoint insertion with the lateral head of the flexor hallicus bevis into the lateral sesamoid and base of the proximal phalynx (9-11), emphasizing more of its plantar flexion function and stabilizing actions, rather than abduction. 

In one EMG study of 20 people with valgus (12) they looked at activity of adductor and abductor hallucis, as well as flexor hallucis brevis and extensor hallucis longus. They found that the abductor hallucis had less activity than the adductor. No surprise here; think about reciprocal inhibition and increased activity of the adductor when the 1st ray cannot be anchoroed. They also found EMG amplitude greater in the abductor hallucis by nearly two fold in flexion. 

So, the abductor hallucis seems to be important in abduction but more important in flexion. Either way, it is a stance phase stabilizer that we are beginning to know a lot more about. As for the name? You decide...

Dr Ivo Waerlop, one of The Gait Guys

1. Basmajian JV, Deluca CJ . Muscle Alive. Their Functions Revealed by Electromyography Williams and Wilkins. Baltimore, MD 1985, 377

2. Root MC, Orien WP, Weed JH. Normal and Abnormal Function of the Foot. Clinical Biomechanics, Los Angeles, CA 1977

3. Mann RA. Biomechanics of Running. In Pack RP. d. Symposium on the foot and leg in running sports. Mosby. St Louis, MO 1982:26

4. Lyons K, Perry J, Gronley JK. Timing and relative intensity of the hip extensor and abductor muscle action during level and stair ambulation. Phys Ther 1983: 63: 1597-1605

5. Michaud T. Foot Orthoses and Other Forms of Conservative Foot Care. Newton MA 1993: 50-55

6. Fiolkowski P, Brunt D, Bishop et al. Intrinsic pedal musculature support of the medial longitudinal arch: an electromyography study. J Foot & Ankle Surg 42(6) 327-333, 2003

7. Travell JG, Simons DG. Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore 1992; 529

8. Kalin PJ, Hirsch BE. The origin and function of the interosseous muscles of the foot. J Anat 152, 83-91; 1987

9. Owens S, Thordarson DB. The adductor hallucis revisited. Foot Ankle Int. 2001 Mar;22(3):186-91. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2003 May;82(5):345-9.

10. Brenner E.Insertion of the abductor hallucis muscle in feet with and without hallux valgus. Anat Rec. 1999 Mar;254(3):429-34.

11. Appel M, Gradinger R. [Morphology of the adductor hallux muscle and its significance for the surgical treatment of hallux valgus][Article in German] Orthop Ihre Grenzgeb. 1989 May-Jun;127(3):326-30.

12. Arinci I, Geng H, Erdem HR, Yorgancioglu ZR Muscle imbalance in hallux valgus: an electromyographic study. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2003 May;82(5):345-9.

#halluxvalgus #halluxabductovalgus #bunion #footmuscleactivity #gait #thegaitguys

Sometimes too much shoe is too much...

Minimalist. Maximalist. Neutral. Sometimes you need to earn your way into a shoe. After all, a shoe is supposed to direct and guide your foot to better (more optimal?) mechanics, not necessarily create more work for it. The literature seems to point to maximalist shoes changing lower extremity kinematics and increasing impact forces. The body needs to have the ability to “attenuate“ these impact forces, otherwise problems could potentially arise.

Take a good look at this gal. She is having a heck of a time trying to control what her mechanics are doing in this maximalist shoe. She demonstrates poor control of the foot, as well as the knee and hip.

By design, the shoe has a thicker outsole and forefoot flare (ie: The front of the shoe is wider at the sole than it is at the interface of the foot with it). This can create accelerated forefoot pronation as you see here with the medial aspect of the foot “slapping“ down on the ground. This creates a large valgus moment at the knee, which is further accentuated by her external tibial torsion, greater on the left. Also notice the pelvic dip on the left on the right foot hits the ground; less so on the right side when the left foot strikes. Looking up the chain and as a whole, you can see that this is poor control and could potentially contribute to at the mechanics at the ankle, knee and hip. Not sure if you can see it but she also has an increase in her lumbar lordosis, diminishing her ability to be able to use her abdominal core to help to stabilize.

If she were to continue to want to utilize the shoe, we would need to work on core strength, hip stability and most likely, forefoot motion (so that she can get her first ray complex to the ground at the first metatarsal phalangeal joint), before she “earns her way” into this shoe.

Dr Ivo Waerlop, one of The Gait Guys

Kulmala JP, Kosonen J, Nurminen J, Avela J.Running in highly cushioned shoes increases leg stiffness and amplifies impact loading. Sci Rep. 2018 Nov 30;8(1):17496. FREE FULL TEXT

Law MHC, Choi EMF, Law SHY, Chan SSC, Wong SMS, Ching ECK, Chan ZYS, Zhang JH, Lam GWK, Lau FOY, Cheung RTH. Effects of footwear midsole thickness on running biomechanics. J Sports Sci. 2019 May;37(9):1004-1010

Chan ZYS, Au IPH, Lau FOY, Ching ECK, Zhang JH, Cheung RTH. Does maximalist footwear lower impact loading during level ground and downhill running? Eur J Sport Sci. 2018 Sep;18(8):1083-1089.

Sinclair J, Richards J, Selfe J, Fau-Goodwin J, Shore H.The Influence of Minimalist and Maximalist Footwear on Patellofemoral Kinetics During Running.J Appl Biomech. 2016 Aug;32(4):359-64. 

Chambon N, Delattre N, Guéguen N, Berton E, Rao G. Is midsole thickness a key parameter for the running pattern? Gait Posture. 2014;40(1):58-63

#runnning #gait #biomechanics #maximalistshoes #midsolethickness #gaitanalysis #thegaitguys

Holy twisted tibias Batman! What is going here in this R sided knee pain patient?

Screen Shot 2019-06-10 at 12.28.38 PM.png

In the 1st picture note this patient is in a neutral posture. Note how far externally rotated her right foot is compared to the left. Note that when you drop a plumbline down from the tibial tuberosity it does not pass-through or between the second and third metatarsals. Also note the incident left short leg

Screen Shot 2019-06-10 at 12.28.56 PM.png

In the next picture both of the patients legs are fully externally rotated. Note the large disparity from right to left. Because of the limited extra rotation of the right hip this patient most likely has femoral retro torsion. This means that the angle of her femoral head is at a greater than 12° angle. We would normally expect approximately 40° of external Rotation. 4 to 6° is requisite for normal gait and supination.

Screen Shot 2019-06-10 at 12.28.47 PM.png

In the next picture the patients knees are fully internally rotated you can see that she has an excessive amount of internal rotation on the right compare to left, confirming her femoral antetorsion.

Screen Shot 2019-06-10 at 12.28.38 PM.png

When this patient puts her feet straight (last picture), her knees point to the inside causing the patello femoral dysfunction right greater than left. No wonder she has right-sided knee pain!

Because of the degree of external tibial torsion (14 to 21° considered normal), activity modification is imperative. A foot leveling orthotic with a modified UCB, also inverting the orthotic is helpful to bring her foot somewhat more to the midline (the orthotic pushes the knee further outside the sagittal plane and the patient internally rotate the need to compensate, thus giving a better alignment).

a note on tibial torsion. As the fetus matures, The tibia then rotates externally, and most newborns have an average of 0- 4° of internal tibial torsion. At birth, there should be little to no torsion of the tibia; the proximal and distal portions of the bone have little angular difference (see above: top). Postnatally, the tibia should twist outward (externally) a total of 15 degrees until adult values are reached between ages 8 and 10 years of 23° of external tibial torsion (range, 0° to 40°).

Wow, cool stuff, eh? Dr Ivo Waerlop, one of The Gait Guys

#tibialtorsion #tibialversion #kneepain #thegaitguys #gaitanalysis

Ode to the Popliteus

Remember the popliteus? To recap, it contracts at the initial contact phase of the walking gait cycle, to act as an accessory PCL (look HERE


to read about that), then contracts eccentrically to slow the rate of internal rotation of the femur on the tibia until midstance, so as not to macerate the meniscus; It then contracts concentrically to accelerate the external rotation of the femur on the tibial plateau so it rotates faster then the tibia, to protect the meniscus as well. So, internal rotation of the femorotibial complex from initial contact to midstance and external rotation of the complex from midstance to preswing. Got it?

Now look at the video of this gal with L sided medial knee pain and past history of a left tibial plateau fracture in her youth. Do you see it? Hmmmm; doesn’t look like internal rotation does it? Don’t see it? Remember that the whole complex SHOULD be internally rotating until the swing phase leg passes the stance pase leg. See it now? Considering that the popliteus tested weak on the clinical exam, does this surprise you?

Agreed that there are many factors initiating internal rotation (and thus pronation) of the stance phase leg from initial contact to midstance, like plantar flexion, adduction and eversion of the talus, contraction of the lower leg anterior compartment muscles, eccentric contraction of the quads and hamstrings, just to name a few, can you see how (a least theoretically) one bad player can ruin the team?

Yes, popliteus rehab, along with abdominal core and foot core endurance exercises are in her future.

Dr Ivo Waerlop, one of The Gait Guys

#popliteus #kneepain #kneeproblem #thegaitguys #gaitanalysis

Right-sided knee pain in a cyclist...due to his hip?

This 54-year-old pilot presented to our office with pain on the outside of his right knee while cycling with his wife who is currently training for the triple bypass. The discomfort comes on later in the ride and is largely lateral. He thought it may be due to a seat position so he raised his seat up but then shortly developed lower back discomfort. Lowered the seat back down and presents to the office today. He is currently on a 54 cm Pierello road bike with a straight top tube.

Physical exam revealed him to have moderately limited internal rotation of the right hip which was approximately 5 degrees external rotation; left side had approximately 5 degrees of internal rotation. There was no significant leg length discrepancy or internal tibial torsion. Musculature, save for the long extensors the toes tests 5/5 and strong. Hip extension is 0 degrees bilaterally 5 flexion approximately 120 degrees with tightness mostly in the iliopsoas and some in the rectus femoris. Knee stability tests are unremarkable. Some patellofemoral discomfort with compression on the right. Palpable tightness in the right IT band.

X-rays revealed degenerative changes at the inferior aspect of the right acetabulum with a small spur an osteophyte formation.

His seat height was set so that at bottom dead center with the seat tube he had a 30 degree bend in his knee. Seat fore and aft position placed the knee over pedal spindle behind central axis of the pedal. His pedal stroke, seen on the video, reveals moderate internal rotation and medial displacement of the knee on the right side.

So what is going on?

It’s all about how folks compensate. This gent has very limited internal rotation of the right hip. Due to the nature of cycling, he is REALLY TRYING to get his 1st MTP down to the pedal to generate power. This is not unusual among cyclists, which is why what you think should be happening in gait does not always transfer over to cycling. in doing so, he MUST rotate SOMETHING forward (in this case his pelvis) medially to create the internal rotation needed. From this scenario, you can see how the posturing would increase knee valve and offer a mechanical advantage to the vastus lateralis, causing patello femoral dysfunction and knee pain.

So we did we do?

  • Moved his seat forward so that a line drawn from between the patella and tibial tuberosity fell through the center axis of the pedal

  • Angled his cleat so that he is able to have a greater progression angle moving forward, bringing his knee more into the sagittal plane

  • Began working on the hip to increase internal rotation working on the gluteus minimus, vastus lateralis and biceps femoris as well as hip capsule and ilio/ischio/pubofemoral ligaments

Dr Ivo Waerlop, one of The Gait Guys

#kneepain #cycling #hipproblem #femoralretrotorsion #thegaitguys #torsion

The problems with some cleats....

Spring is here and Dr Ivo Waerlop of The Gait Guys talks about some common problems seen due to manufacturers defects in cleats and how they can affect athletes. From uppers put on the outsole incorrectly and contributing to and potentiating rearfoot varus and valgus to poor cleat placement affecting the 1st mtp mechanics; they all contribute to athlete performance.

Support for visual gait analysis... with respect to leg length discrepancies

image credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/eye-blue-eyelashes-vision-make-up-691269/

image credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/eye-blue-eyelashes-vision-make-up-691269/

We talk about leg length discrepancies all the time here on the blog and sometimes, how small discrepancies cause changes in peoples biomechanics. The gold standard for measuring a leg length difference is full length lower extremity X ray, but this presents a problem due to the ionizing radiation, accessibility as well as impracticality of X rays every person with a suspected difference.

We have talked about different compensations as to how to get around a leg length discrepancies. Last week we actually did a tell a seminar on this entire subject. Your patient or client needs to “create clearance” for the longer leg side. This can be accomplished in many ways.

The 5 most common strategies (keep in mind there are many more) are:

  • lean the torso to the short leg side (essentially hip adduction of the longer side)

  • hike the torso on the long leg side

  • circumduct the longer lower extremity

  • increase plantar flexion of the calf of the short leg side

  • increase hip and knee flexion on the longer leg side

And that is exactly what this study found. They looked at kinematics in people with anatomical leg length discrepancies and found that hip adduction as well as increased hip and knee flexion were 2 variables that were consistent in folks with anatomical differences and suggest these variables are a useful screening tool.

Paying attention to how people move and looking for asymmetries. In our opinion, that’s the name of the game : )

Dr Ivo Waerlop, on of The Gait Guys

Zeitoune GNadal JBatista LAMetsavaht LMoraes APLeporace G.Prediction of mild anatomical leg length discrepancy based on gait kinematics and linear regression model. Gait Posture. 2019 Jan;67:117-121. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2018.09.027. Epub 2018 Sep 29.

#LLD #leglengthdifference #leglengthinequality #visualgaitanalysis #thegaitguys #gaitanalysis

Pronation anyone? Coupling? Walking Speed? How do they relate?

We have talked many times here on TGG about pronation, supination, overpronation, asymmetrical pronation, and more.

When most people think of pronation, they think of midfoot pronation, or pronation about the subtalar or transverse tarsal joints. Pronation can actually occur about any articulation or bone, but with respect to the foot, we like to think of rearfoot (ie. talo-calcaneal), midfoot (talo-navicular) and forefoot (transverse tarsal). The question is why does this matter?

Pronation, with respect to the foot, is defined as a combination of eversion, abduction and dorsiflexion (see picture attached) which results in flattening of the planter vault encompassing the medial and lateral longitudinal arches. In a normal gait cycle, this begins at initial contact (heel strike) and terminates at midstance, lasting no more than 25% of the gait cycle.

In a perfect biomechanical world, shortly following initial contact with the ground, the calcaneus should evert 4-8 degrees, largely because the body of the calcaneus is lateral to the longitudinal axis of the tibia. This results in plantar flexion, adduction and eversion of the talus on the calcaneus, as it slides anteriorly. At this point, there should be dorsiflexion of the transverse tarsal (calcaneo-cuboid and talo-navicular joints). Due to the tight fit of the ankle mortise and its unique shape, the tibial rotates internally (medially). This translates up the kinetic chain and causes internal rotation of the femur, which causes subsequent nutation of the pelvis and extension of the lumbar spine. This should occur in the lower kinetic chain through the 1st half of stance phase. The sequence should reverse after the midpoint of midstance, causing supination and creating a rigid lever for forward propulsion.

Pronation, along with knee and hip flexion, allow for shock absorption during throughout the 1st half of stance phase. Pronation allows for the calcaneo-cuboid and talo-navicular joint axes to be parallel making the foot into a mobile adaptor so it can contour to irregular surfaces, like our hunter gatherer forefathers used to walk on before we paved the planet. Problems arise when the foot either under pronates (7 degrees valgus results in internal tibial rotation), resulting in poor shock absorption or over pronates (> 8 degrees or remains in pronation for greater than 50% of stance phase).

This paper talks about how foot and ankle pathologies have effects on other articulations in the foot. They looked at stance phase of gait in 14 people without pathology at 3 different walking speeds. they found:

coupling relationships between rear foot inversion and hallux plantar flexion and rear foot eversion with hallux dorsiflexion.... When the rear foot everts (as it does as discussed above) during pronation from initial contact to mid stance , the hallux should be extending AND when the rear foot everts, as it should from mid stance to terminal stance/pre swing, the hallux should be plantar flexing to get the 1st ray down to the ground

medial (internal) rotation of there leg was accompanied by mid foot collapse (read pronation) and lateral (external) rotation with mid foot elevation (read supination).... Because of the shape of the talar dome and shape of the talo calcaneal facet joints, the talus plantar flexes, everts and adducts from initial contact to mid stance, and dorsiflexes, inverts and adducts from mid stance to terminal stance/ pre swing

walking speed significantly influenced these coupling relationships....meaning that the faster we go, the faster these things must happen and the greater degree that the surrounding musculature and associated cortical control mechanisms must act

So, when these relationships are compromised, problems (or more often, compensations) ensue. Think about these relationships and the kinetics and kinematics the next time you are studying someones gait.

Dr Ivo Waerlop, one of The Gait Guys

Dubbeldam R1, Nester C, Nene AV, Hermens HJ, Buurke JH. Kinematic coupling relationships exist between non-adjacent segments of the foot and ankle of healthy subjects.Kinematic coupling relationships exist between non-adjacent segments of the foot and ankle of healthy subjects.Gait Posture. 2013 Feb;37(2):159-64. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2012.06.033. Epub 2012 Aug 27

cool video on our blog to go with this post:


#gaitanalysis #thegaitguys #pronation #couplingrelationshipsandgait #pronation

You are wondering: "Does the distance between footfalls make a difference?"


In short, when it comes to stress fractures, IT band syndrome and patellofemoral pain, the literature says yes…

"In conclusion, decreasing stride length has been proposed as a method to treat and prevent running-related musculoskeletal injuries. While not directly examining the effect of stride length, research examining the effect of barefoot running and minimalist shoes indirectly evaluates stride length, as barefoot/minimalist runners tend to adopt a reduced stride length. Evidence suggests that decreasing stride length results in biomechanical changes, including reduced GRFs and joint moments, that can contribute to reduced injury risk. Clinical studies indicate that reducing stride length may help decrease the likelihood of stress fractures, iliotibial band syndrome, and patellofemoral pain."

a good read: https://lermagazine.com/article/implications-of-reduced-stride-length-in-running. ALSO the photo credit

#gait, #thegaitguys, #gaitanalysis, #running, #stridelength

Dr Ivo, one of The Gait Guys

Keep your eyes up and your toes up...,And it doesn’t hurt to use your abs


While out cross country skiing after a few inches of fresh fallen snow it dawned on me, especially when going uphill on my cross-country skis, lifting your toes up definitely pushes the head of the first metatarsal down and helps you to gain more purchase with the scales on the bottom of the skis. It also helps to press the center portion of the camber of the ski downward so that you can get better traction. Thinking about this further, lifting your toes up also helps you to engage your glutes to a greater degree.

Try this: stand comfortably with your knees slightly flexed. Lift up your toes leaving the balls of your feet on the ground. Do you feel the first metatarsal head going down and making better contact with the ground? Can you feel your foot tripod between the head of the first metatarsal, head of the fifth metatarsal and the calcaneus? Now let your toes go down. Squeeze your glute max muscles. You should still be able to fart so don’t squeeze the sphincter. You can palpate these muscles to see if you’re actually getting to them. You can do this by placing your hands on top of your hips with your fingers calling around forward like when your mom used to put her hands on her hips and yell at you. Now relax with your toes up again leaving the balls of your feet on the ground. Now engage your glutes. See how much easier it is?

Now stand with your feet flat on the ground and put your hands on your abs, specifically your external obliques. Now raise your right leg. Do you feel your external oblique engage? Now, lift your toes up leaving the balls of your feet on the ground. Now lift your leg. Do you feel how much more your abs engage?

Little tricks of the trade. That’s why you listen here and why your patients/clients come to see you. Now go out and do it!

Dr. Ivo, one of The Gait Guys

#gaitanalysis, #crosscountryskiing, #skiing, hallux, #engage, #abs

What does a pedograph of a person with hallux limitus look like?


Take a good look at the pedographs above. Can you figure out which side has the hallux limitus from the pictures? 

You would think that with hallux limitus there would be increased printing over the distal phalanx of great toe and possibly over the distal metatarsal as seen in the print of the right foot. This would make sense as if you have limited motion here and the pressure will be more forward. However, often times Hallux limitus is painful and the patient develops a compensation to NOT load the joint, as we see on the print of the left foot. We see the lack of printing under the first metatarsal head and increased printing laterally in the foot from avoidance of that joint. Also notice a slight increased printing in the right heel teardrop (hash marks are more filled in) and slight widening of it anteriorly. He has a right sided leg length discrepancy and we would normally expect an increased amount of pronation on the longer leg side, however because of the weight shift to the left we are seeing increased pronation on the right. Now, with this valgus moment of the right foot do you understand why the printing is so heavy under the first metatarsal and distal phalanx. Note also the increased printing at the distal phalanx of toes number two, three and five on the right hand side in an attempt to stabilize as his center of gravity shifts to the right.

And now you know!

Dr Ivo, one of The Gait Guys

#halluxlimitis, #gaitanalysis, #pedograph, #leglengthdiscrepancy, #LLD

Podcast 138 (for real). Are you fighting your own gait/running neurology?

1. Running with the extensors. Convergence and divergence of neurons.
2. Fighting your gait neurology. The lies about the Bird dog rehab exercise.
3. ACL and ACL rehab. Surgery or no sugery. Wise? Risks ? How social media discussions might just be getting it wrong.
4. Cross over gait and lateral heel strike and ensuing problems at great toe off. A failure to medial foot tripod high gear toe off ?
5. Are the hip flexors actually hip flexors in gait ? what are your high knee drills doing? Anything good?

Key words: acl, analysis, cross, extensor, flexors, gait, heel, hip, instability, knee, over, plri, pools, problems, running, strike, surgery

Links to find the podcast:

iTunes page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-gait-guys-podcast/id559864138?mt=2

Direct Download:http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegaitguys/pod_138_real_-_82818_2.12_PM.mp3

Permalink URL:http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/podcast-138-for-real

Libsyn URL: http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/6978817

Our Websites:




Our website is all you need to remember. Everything you want, need and wish for is right there on the site.
Interested in our stuff ? Want to buy some of our lectures or our National Shoe Fit program? Click here (thegaitguys.com or thegaitguys.tumblr.com) and you will come to our websites. In the tabs, you will find tabs for STORE, SEMINARS, BOOK etc. We also lecture every 3rd Wednesday of the month on onlineCE.com. We have an extensive catalogued library of our courses there, you can take them any time for a nominal fee (~$20).

Our podcast is on iTunes and just about every other podcast harbor site, just google "the gait guys podcast", you will find us.

What did you notice? The Devil is in the details...

 Cavus foot? Loss of the transverse arch? Prominence of extensor tendons?

The question is: Why?

It’s about reciprocal inhibition. The concept, though observed in the 19th century, was not fully understood and accepted until it earned a Nobel prize for its creditor, Sir Charles Sherrington, in 1932. Simply put, when a muscle contracts, its antagonist is neurologically inhibited, So when your bicep contracts, your tricep is inhibited. This holds true whether you actively contract the muscle or if the muscle is irritated (causing contraction).

So how does this apply to this foot?

We see prominence of the extensor tendons (particularly the extensor digitorum brevis EDB; the longus would have caused extension at the distal interphalangeal joint). The belly of the muscle is visible, telling us that it is active. It is neurologically linked to the flexor digitorum brevis (FDB). This muscle, in turn, has slips which attach it to the abductor hallucis brevis (AHB) medially and the abductor digiti minimi (ADM) laterally. These muscles together form 2 triangles (to be discussed in another post) on the bottom of the foot, which lend to the stability of the foot and the arches, especially the transverse.

When the EDB fires, it inhibits the FDB, (which, in addition to flexing the MTP’s, assists in maintaining the arch). The EDB has an effect which drops the distal heads of the metatarsals as well (Hmm, think about all the people with met head pain) Now, look at the course of the tendons of the EDB. In a cavus foot, there is also a mild abductory moment, which flattens the arch. Conversely, the FDB in a cavus foot would serve to actually increase the arch, and would have a ,mild adductory moment. Net result? A flattened transverse arch.

Now look at the Flexor digitorum longus, overactive in tbis foot (as evidenced by the flexion of the distal interphalangeal joints, mild adduction of the toes (due to the change of direction of pull in a cavus foot) and lowering of the met heads due to hyperextesnion at the MTP joints ). This mm is reciprocally linked with the extensor digitorum longus. The prominence of the extensor tendons is do to increased activity of the EDB (go ahead, extend all your fingers and look at the tendons in your hand. Now flex the  DIP and IP joints and extend the MTP; see how they become more prominent?).

Reciprocal inhibition. It’s not just for dinner anymore…

We are and remain; The Gait Guys

A Tale of 2 Footies

Time for a pedograph, folks. What do we have here?

To review :

Let’s divide the foot into 3 sections: the rear foot, the mid foot and the fore foot.

First of all, are they symmetrical? Look carefully at the fore foot on each side. NO! the right foot looks different than the left, so we are looking at asymmetrical pathology.

Let’s start at the rear foot: The heel teardrop is elongated on both sides, slightly more on the right; this means incraesed calcaneal eversion (or rearfoot pronation) bilaterally, R > L. The right heel shows increased pressure (more ink = more pressure).

Next up, the mid foot. Similar shapes, more pressure and printing on the left. Did you notice the “tail” of the 5th metatarsal printing, giving it a wider print? This person is staying on the outside of their foot longer than normal, right (more ink) more than left.

How about the fore foot? Lots going on there.

Lets start on the left

Notice the mild increased printing of the 5th and 4th metatarsal heads. Force should be traveling from lateral to medial here, as the foot goes into supination. A relatively normal amount of pressure on the head of the 1st metatarsal.

Now look at the toes. Notice that space between the 2nd and 3rd? This gal had an old fracture and has an increased space between them.

Now how about the right?

Increased pressure on most of the heads with a concentration on the 1st metatarsal. Hmmm…what would cause that? this is typical of someone who has a 1st ray (cunieform and metatarsal) that is hypomobile, such as with someone with a forefoot valgus (as this person does) or a dropped 1st metatarsal head (which is usually rigid, as is NOT the case here).

Did you see that rpinting at the medial aspect of the proximal phalanyx of the hallux (ie. big toe)? This gal externally rotates the lower extremity to push off the big toe to propel herself forward. This is because the 1st metatarsal head hits the ground BEFORE the 5th (as we would normally expect to see, like in the left foot), and because the weight is now on the outside of the foot, she need to push off SOMETHING.

Getting better at this? We hope so. Keep reading the blog and look at some of our past pedograph posts here.

The Gait Guys. Teaching you about the importance of gait, each and every day!

The pedograph as a window to the gait cycle


Have you ever studied footprints on the beach or looked at the print left by a wet foot when you get out of the water? These are some of the most primitive types of pedographs.

The pedograph, 1st described by Harris and Beath in 1947 is a rubber mat surface with multiple protruding, small grid lines on one side, which, when covered with ink, imprints an underlying sheet of paper when weight (usually a foot) passes over it. Relative plantar pressures are indicated by the size and density of the inked area, creating a “footprint” reflecting passages of force through the foot at that instance in time.  They have fallen into and out of usage over the years, often discarded for more expensive technology such as pedobarographs, individual pressure sensors, and pressure sensitive mats, which have computer interfaces and can provide many useful measurements and calculations to assist the clinician with rendering a diagnosis. These systems, though more precise in some ways (provided a controlled, reproducible testing procedure) are often thousands of dollars, require a computer and the necessary skills, and have a substantial learning curve.  

The pedograph in contrast is simplistic, inexpensive, and reliable and only requires that the user have an intact visual pathway and cerebral cortex and knowledge of the events occurring in the gait cycle. With some practice and a good knowledge base, the subtle nuances detected by the sensitive pedograph (nuances that can be undetected with high end computer driven plantar pressure devices) can offer information critical to a precise diagnosis and give solid clues to gait flaws and compensations.  With minimal training using a pedograph, reproducible “prints” can be produced for analysis, in light of your findings clinically. They also make wonderful educational tools for your patients and clients!

An essential part of a comprehensive patient evaluation should include examination of the entire kinetic chain both in a static and dynamic fashion. Often what you see statically is either directly translated to or compensated for in the dynamic evaluation. (It is important to note that many of the available foot scan units available from orthotic companies scan a patient in a static standing position and give little information on how the feet and lower limb dynamically engage the ground during movement.) The pedograph is a useful visual tool representing a 2 dimensional image of tridimensional motion, and you are seeing the end product and compensation (or lack thereof) of the individuals mechanics at that point in time. Because of the specificity of what you are seeing refers to a particular point in time, technique and reproducibility are of paramount importance. Prints should be performed several times to insure what you are looking at is what you are looking at, and not movement artifact, because of the way the patient stepped on to or off of the mat.

With a pedograph, seeing is believing. When you have objective data about how an individual moves through space and how their joints and motor system help them to accomplish that, you have a better appreciation for the type or form of therapy which may be most appropriate. In the hands of a skilled clinician, seeing abnormal plantar pressures tells you where the biomechanical fault lies, and thus where manipulation may be appropriate, which muscles need strengthening and where neuromotor coordination is lacking and gait rehabilitation is needed.  

excerpted from the 1st edition of our Book “Pedographs and Gait Analysis: Clinical Pearls and Case Studies” Trafford Publishing

Muscle activation and gait: EMG studies that differentiate!

Got Muscle activation? Looking for some EMG data on what fires when in walking vs running gait? The conclusion and point of the study are good, but the EMG data and diagrams are awesome for those of you seeking a greater understanding of what goes on when

"The major difference between walking and running was that one temporal component, occurring during stance, was shifted to an earlier phase in the step cycle during running. These muscle activation differences between gaits did not simply depend on locomotion speed as shown by recordings during each gait over the same range of speeds (5–9 km/h). The results are consistent with an organization of locomotion motor programs having two parts, one that organizes muscle activation during swing and another during stance and the transition to swing. The timing shift between walking and running reflects therefore the difference in the relative duration of the stance phase in the two gaits."

A great read and FREE FULL TEXT