You are mostly likely not getting to your big toe at push-off if you are doing this.

You are mostly likely not getting to your big toe at push-off if you are doing this. Look at the shoe wear patterns in the photos below, they are not this runners, but another runner who also has a cross over gait. And, if you have a painful big toe, you will do it as well. Oh, and Head-over-foot related, yup. Read on . . .

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Yes, the cross over gait. Yes, when you are into a cross over gait you are most certainly head over foot. And that is most likely not a good thing.

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If you are not closer to stacking the hip over the knee, and knee over the foot (like in the photo "SUI" bib runner) you are not likely getting to much of your big toe at terminal stance loading, when you could be getting more power at push off.
Said another way, if you are attacking the ground with the feet closer together, as if you are running on a line (as in the photo) you are going to be more on the outside of the foot (note the lateral foot contact), show a similar wear/loading pattern as in these shoes, and hardly load the medial foot tripod effectively.
Go ahead, walk around your office or home right now . . . . with a very narrow step width and see how little you can load into the big toe-medial foot tripod (note how little effective glute engagement you get as well by the way. there is a reason why there is a limit to the effectiveness of a very narrow step width). Then, walk with a wider step width, note the easier more effective big toe-medial tripod loading, and, note the glutes come into play much more profoundly.
Thus, head over foot/cross over gait is foolish for effective gait. You have a big toe, don't you wish to use it ? One has to find that balance between an economical step width that still allows an effective toe off event in walking and running. A very narrow cross over-style gait does not afford us this.
So, should it be any surprise to any of us that someone with pain in the big toe or medial tripod complex will choose a narrow step width to avoid the painful loading ? No, no surprise there at all.
We have been writing about the cross over gait for 10 years, bringing little pieces of research to the forefront to prove our theories on it as the research presents itself. We first brought it to you with our 3 part video series here. Search our blog, type in "cross over gait" into the search box on the site www.thegaitguys.com and get a LARGE coffee before hand, you are going to be reading for several hours.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LG-xLi2m5Rc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WptxNrj2gCo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJ6ewQ8YUA

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Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 12.48.17 PM.png

Unique adaptations to arm swing challenges: the one armed runner. Welcome to Luke Ericson, an amazing athlete, and man

Luke Ericson is tough as nails.

Human gait is cyclical. For the most part, when one limb is engaged on the ground (stance phase), the other is in swing phase. Before I continue, you should recall that there is a brief double limb support phase in walking gait, that which is absent in running gait. Also, I wish to remind you of our time hammered principle that when the foot is on the ground the glutes are heavily in charge, and when the foot is in the air, the abdominals are heavily in charge.  

For one to move cleanly and efficiently one would assume that the best way to do that would be to ensure that the lower 2 limbs are capable of doing the exact same things, with the same timing, same skill, same endurance and same strength. This goes for the upper 2 limbs as well, and then of course the synchronizing of the 4 in a cohesive effort. For this clean seamless motor function to occur, one must assume that there would be no injuries that had left a remnant mark on one limb thus encouraging a necessary compensation pattern in that limb (and one that would then have to be negotiated with the opposite limb as well as the contralateral upper or lower limb).  

Removing a considerable mass of tissue anywhere in the body is going to change the symmetry of the body and require compensations. One can clearly see the effects of this on this athletes body in the video above. He even eludes to the fact that he has a scoliosis, no surprise there.  There is such an unequal mass distribution that there is little way the spine had any chance to remain straight.  Not only is this going to change symmetry from a static postural perspective (bulk, weight, fascial plane changes, strength etc) but it will change dynamic postural control, mobility and stability as well as dynamic spinal kinematics.  I have talked about this previously in a blog piece I wrote on post-mastectomy clients display changes in spatiotemporal gait parameter such as step length and gait velocity.

-mastectomy post: http://tmblr.co/ZrRYjx1XB8RhO

If you have been with The Gait Guys for awhile you will know that impairing an arm swing will show altered biomechanics in the opposite lower limb (and furthermore, if you alter one lower limb, you begin a process of altering the biomechanical function and rhythmicity of the opposite leg as well.) You can search the blog for “arm swing part 1 and part 2″ for those dialogues.

Arm swing impairment is a real issue and it is one that is typically far overlooked and misrepresented. The intrinsic effects of altering the body through subtraction of tissue are not all that dissimilar to extrinsic changes into the system from things like  walking with a handbag/briefcase, walking with a shoulder bag, walking and running with an ipod or water bottle in one hand. And do not forget other intrinsic problems that affect spinal symmetry, for example consider the changes on the system from scoliosis as in this case.  It can cycle back on its own feedback loop into the system, either consciously or unconsciously altering arm swing and thus global body kinematics.  

There is a reason that in our practices we often assess and treat contralateral upper and lower limbs as well as to address remnants from old injuries whether they are symptomatic or not. It all comes together for the organism as a concerted effort in optimal locomotion.

Here on TGG, and in dialogues with Ivo on our podcast, I have long talked about phasic and anti-phasic motions of the arms and shoulder-pelvic blocks during gait and locomotion/sport activity.  I have written several times about the effects of spine pain and how spine pain clients reduce the anti-phasic rotational (axial) nature of the shoulder girdle and pelvic girdle. In the video above, you can see anything but anti-phasic gait, to be clear, this is a classic representation of a phasic gait. The shoulder block and the pelvic block show little if any counter rotation, they are linked together which is not normal gait. Furthermore, if you look carefully, the timing of the right arm swing is variable and cyclically changing in its timing with the left leg. Look carefully, you will see the cyclical success and failure at the beginning of the video.  This is pathologic gait, he must be constantly fighting frontal plane sway because there is no axial anti-phasic motion. He is also constantly fighting the unidirectional rotation that the absence of an entire limb and limb girdle is presenting, you can see him struggle with this if you have looked at enough gait samplings. There is essentially frozen torso movements.  Want to see more of our work on arm swing ? search the gait guys blog.

There is so much more here to discuss, so I will likely return to this video another time to delve into those other things on my mind. Luke is an amazing athlete, he gets much respect from me.

I hope this dialogue helps you to get a deeper grip on gait and gait problems. I have written many articles on the topics of arm swing, phasic and anti-phasic gait, central pattern generators. The are all archived here on the blog. I try to write a new original thought-process article each week for the blog amongst the other “aggregator” type stuff we share from other folks social media. My weekly article serves to go deeper into things, sometimes they are well referenced and in this case, I am basing today’s discussion on the referenced work in the other pieces I have written on arm swing, phasic and anti-phasic gait, central pattern generators etc. So please do your readings there before we begin debate or dialogue, which i always welcome !

Dr. Shawn Allen, the other gait guy

Where do you want to load your foot in relation to your center of mass ?

Screen Shot 2018-11-16 at 6.00.30 PM.png

Who do you want to be ? The guy loading his head over his foot
(narrow step width), or the gal loading the head and COM inside the foot (less narrow step width) ?
It is not hard to guess who is gonna be faster and more powerful from these photos. The lady is stacking the knee over the foot, the hip over the knee and stabilizing the hip and pelvis sufficiently and durably to keep the pelvis level for the next powerful loading step, and the other is flexion collapsing into the stance phase knee, insufficiently loading the hip and thus dropping the opposite side pelvis. He is not stacking the joints, there is a pending cross over (look at the swing leg knee approaching midline with barely any knee spacing, thus guaranteeing a cross over step or at the very least a very narrow step width.)
Sure, some one is going to say one is a distance runner and the other is a sprinter. Yes, and our point is that the sprinter is not head-over-foot, the one with all the highly suspect flaws is head over foot ! Wider step width means more glutes. Go ahead, walk around right now with a very narrow step width and see how little efficient glute contraction you get, then walk with a notably wider step width, and you will see wider means more glutes. Keep your COM moving forward, not oscillating back and forth sideways over each stance foot, that is a power leak.

Screen Shot 2018-11-16 at 6.00.11 PM.png

The distance runner is showing sloppy in technique. Say what you want, but one of these runners is weak and very likely at greater risk for injury, the other is strong and durable, and likely at less risk for injury.
If you ask us, but what do we know . . . .
So, again, was ask . . . . which one do you want to be ?

You are mostly likely not getting to your big toe at push-off if you are doing this.

Screen Shot 2019-04-08 at 4.20.41 PM.png

You are mostly likely not getting to your big toe at push-off if you are doing this. And, if you have a painful big toe, you will do it as well. Oh, and Head-over-foot related, yup. Read on . . .


Yes, the cross over gait. Yes, when you are into a cross over gait you are most certainly head over foot. And that is most likely not a good thing.


If you are not closer to stacking the hip over the knee, and knee over the foot (like in the photo "SUI" bib runner) you are not likely getting to much of your big toe at terminal stance loading, when you could be getting more power at push off.
Said another way, if you are attacking the ground with the feet closer together, as if you are running on a line (as in the photo) you are going to be more on the outside of the foot (note the lateral foot contact), show a similar wear/loading pattern as in these shoes, and hardly load the medial foot tripod effectively.
Go ahead, walk around your office or home right now . . . . with a very narrow step width and see how little you can load into the bit toe-medial foot tripod (note how little effective glute engagement you get as well). Then, walk with a wider step width, note the easier more effective big toe-medial tripod loading, and, not the glutes come into play.

Screen Shot 2019-04-08 at 4.20.52 PM.png

Thus, head over foot/cross over gait is foolish for effective gait. You have a big toe, don't you wish to use it ? One has to find that balance between an economical step width that still allows an effective toe off event in walking and running. A very narrow cross over-style gait does not afford us this.
So, should it be any surprise to any of us that someone with pain in the big toe or medial tripod complex will choose a narrow step width to avoid the painful loading ? No, no surprise there at all.
We have been writing about the cross over gait for 10 years, bringing little pieces of research to the forefront to prove our theories on it as the research presents itself. We first brought it to you with our 3 part video series here. Search our blog, type in "cross over gait" into the search box on the site www.thegaitguys.com and get a LARGE coffee before hand, you are going to be reading for several hours.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LG-xLi2m5Rc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WptxNrj2gCo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJ6ewQ8YUAA

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Screen Shot 2019-04-08 at 4.21.23 PM.png

Look at his guys right leg, the lower leg and foot.

Look at his guys right leg, the lower leg and foot.

This photo was part of an insert in an old Altra shoe box when we got our shoes.

IMG_3850.PNG

Is that internal tibial torsion, a fixed bony issue that is causing what appears to be the intoe? Or is it a drop of the right hemipelvis into anterior tilt, to try to get more hip extension, which often leads to full leg internal rotation from the hip ? Is it from a weak left hip complex, particularly the abductor players? Remember, internal hip rotation and hip extension can be paired events. Internal hip rotation is a precursor event, in gait, to hip extension. But this is beyond the normal hip extension-internal limb rotation pairing.

There is no way to know except to examine him.
Coaching this out is a mistake until you know what it is.
Prescribing a corrective exercise to attempt to correct it is also a huge mistake without examining the person hands on, and determining whether this is a fixed bony issue, or a functional pattern of choice/power/biomechanics.
It could also be a compensation to another issue, such as I eluded to in a possible weak right lower abdominal interval, allowing the pelvis to tip too far forward.
We have to understand anatomy, biomechanics, compensations and we have to examine our clients.
If a coach tries to train this out, because they do not like the way it looks, it is foolish. Just plain foolish. And if a coach notes this, but does nothing about it, and merely adds training and strength to the "potential" dysfunction, do not be surprised if injury arises. It might not, but adding strength, load and training onto faulty mechanics can have a consequence. There will be those who say, " if it is not a problem, don't fix it". Our response is, sure, that might work, and then again it might not work. Just take responsibility and honest self inventory if that athlete might injure. And learn from it. We are all students.
Do not add strength to dysfunction.

How do you know ? In this case, one has to get educated on osseous torsions and versions, anatomy, biomechanics, to start. Listen, read, learn. We do these things all the time, every day here on The Gait Guys.

Shawn Allen, one of the gait guys

#gait, #gaitproblems, #gaitcompensations, #tibialtorsion, #internaltibialtorsion, #intoed, #running, #sprinting, #thegaitguys, #hipextension, #powerleak

Running paths and the cross over gait and narrow step width.

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This is a walking/running path. Do the runners on this path only have one foot? No, of course not, they are running on a line. Yes, we cannot get away from this cross over gait, a terribly narrow based gait pattern.
Is it economical? Likely.
Risky ? Possibly.
Do we know that this angled attack of the foot towards the mid-line asks more from the frontal plane stabililzers in the hip and core ? Yes, research has shown this.
Do we know that the gluteus medius helps with foot targeting? Yes, research again shows this, and thus a weak gluteus medius will enable a more medial targeting. Lesson: the gluteus medius helps with foot targeting on the swing leg, and hip stability on the stance leg.
With a Cross Over gait, Do we know that we need better control of internal spin of the limb, better foot pronation durability and many other durable abilities that we might not need so much of if we were better stacking the joint? Again, yes.

We confirmed with the reader who sent the photo that this is not a bike path (at this location this path is for walking folks, the bike path is adjacent to the parking lot).
The reader (Terry B. (thank you Terry)) astutely mentioned that people are walking on a line. If they had some spacing, step width, there would be 2 trails and a tiny patch of grass between them.

But, now, this line, the line is a queue for others to "walk the line" and join the cross-over nation.
We have written gobs of articles on this cross over topic, the few benefits, the teeter-totter "risk / reward" factor, the drawbacks and injury susceptibility factor and we have spoken about it on our podcast probably 100x. IF you wish to entertain that rabbit hole of knowledge, just goto our website and type it into the "search" box. "cross over gait"

When you run Do you kick or scrape the inside of your ankle with the other foot ?

Do you kick or scrape the inside of your ankle with the other foot ?

Runner's pathologies creep in as the miles go up, fatigue can be a variable in biomechanical breakdown. Some of you who have been with us for years have seen this picture. This young runner had these scuff marks on the inside of the right lower leg and ankle after a cross country meet. So what is going on here and what does it tell you ?

Screen Shot 2019-01-06 at 10.57.30 AM.png

Some runners notice that they repeatedly will scuff in the inside ankle or inner calf with the opposite shoe when running. This can happen on both sides but it is more often present unilaterally than bilaterally.

This problem, typically, but not always represents one of two things:

1- cross over gait (if you are new to our blog in the SEARCH box type in “cross over” and “cross over gait” and be sure to see our 3 part video on the cross over on our youtube channel found here).

2- negative foot progression angle which may or may not be combined with a degree of internal tibial torsion. Said easier, the runner is “in-toed” or “pigeon toed” but if you have been here with us awhile on The Gait Guys we expect a diagnosis of a higher order so use the former terms, please.

Lets discuss both.

1- Cross over. When the runner is standing on the right leg, right stance phase of gait, the frontal plane is not properly engaged and the pelvis can drift further over the right foot. This drift to the right will drop the pelvis on the left side. This will alter the pendulum movement of the left leg. Since the global pelvis is moving to the right the left swing leg pendulum moves to the right as well and as it swings past the stance leg it strikes a glancing blow to the inside of the right ankle or calf. This is simple biomechanics and physics. To fix this problem, which is clearly inefficient, one has to determine what is causing the right pelvis drift (there are many causes, the most often thought of cause is a weak gluteus medius on the right but if you have been here with us awhile you will know there are other causes) and then fix the drift. Do not assume it is the gluteus medius all the time, for if it is not, and you employ more glute medius exercises you could be ignoring the source and building a deeper compensation pattern. Fix the problem, not what you see.

2- Negative foot progression angle and/or internal tibial torsion. In order to fix this you have to know first if you are dealing with a fixed/rigid anatomic tibial or femoral torsion issue which cannot be fixed or if you are dealing with a flexible progression angle issue. Often, “in-toeing” is accompanied with internal tibial torsion, this is because the knee has to progress forward to keep its tracking mechanics clean, if you correct someone’s foot progression back to neutral and they have internal tibial torsion then you have dragged the patellar tracking outside the normal sagittal progression angle, knee pain will ensue. In fact, the foot progression on the ankle is normal, but the tibia or femur are merely torsioned in a manner that drags the foot inwards with the long bone orientation, again, this is driven by a higher order/demand, to normally track the patella sagittally (forward). However, if this is a pre-puberty individual you have time because the long bone derotation process is still occuring. Give homework to encourage a good foot tripod and work to strengthen the external hip rotators and encourage sagittal knee tracking mechanics. This is a delicate balancing act, but it can be done, but it is a monster of a project for a blog post because each case is different, variable and always changing depending on the client progress. Remember, you can only encourage more appropriate mechanics and hope that the body will embrace some of the change and encourage some of the de-rotation process to occur from the long bone growth plates.

The “inside scuff”, to identify its solution you have to know the cause. After all, if it was as easy a fix as “stop doing that” no one would be doing it and we would be out of a job.

Shawn and Ivo …… The Gait Guys

#gait, #gaitanalysis, #gaitproblems, #thegaitguys, #gaitcompensations, #hippain, #hipbiomechanics, #crossovergait, #narrowstepwidth, #calfscuff

When runner do you want to be? 2 photos

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Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 9.29.44 AM.png

Who do you want to be ? The guy loading his head over his foot
(narrow step width), or the gal loading the head and COM inside the foot (less narrow step width) ?

It is not hard to suspect who is gonna be faster and more powerful from these photos. This however does not mean on is more durable, more or less injured, more or less efficient but logical debates and thought experiments can be made here.

The lady is stacking the knee over the foot, the hip over the knee and stabilizing the hip and pelvis sufficiently and durably to keep the pelvis level for the next powerful loading step, and the other is flexion collapsing into the stance phase knee, insufficiently loading the hip and thus dropping the opposite side pelvis. He is not stacking the joints, there is a pending cross over (look at the swing leg knee approaching midline with barely any knee spacing, thus guaranteeing a cross over step or at the very least a very narrow step width.)
Sure, some one is going to say one is a distance runner and the other is a sprinter. Yes, and our point is that the sprinter is not head-over-foot, the one with all the highly suspect flaws is head over foot ! Wider step width means more glutes. Go ahead, walk around right now with a very narrow step width and see how little efficient glute contraction you get, then walk with a notably wider step width, and you will see wider means more glutes. Keep your COM moving forward, not oscillating back and forth sideways over each stance foot, that is a power leak.

The distance runner appears to be demonstrating less optimal in technique, appears is the key word here. Say what you want, but a decent argument might be made as to one of these runners being weak and very likely at greater risk for injury, the other is suspect to be strong and durable, and likely at less risk for injury.
If you ask us, but what do we know . . . . it is all a thought experiment, but based on some pretty decent ideas.
So, again, was ask . . . . which one do you want to be ?

Gluteal tendinopathy and the Cross Over gait pattern.

Gluteal tendinopathy, often lateral hip pain at or around the region of the greater trochanter. (note: the pain referral of this problem can dispurse far and wide, from low back and even into groin or to the knee). It is not gluteal bursitis, the research barely supports that. You'd be better off using the term "greater trochanteric pain syndrome" (yes, its an ICD10 code).


The problem often involves the abductors, the gluteus medius and/or gluteus minimus tendons as weakness or poor co-contraction stabilization patterning creates a compressive adduction of the tendons and gr.trochanter. But, know this, mere strengthening is not the entire answer, and it is not supported as the cause or cure, it is just part of the solution. As with most problems, resolution is about load, how we load, load over time, tolerance to load, time under tension, loads we can manage, loads we are unprepared for. These are variables certainly pertinent to novice runners and athletes (though for some everyday folk even walking can be vulnerable) but also high level athletes who either mal-adapt, compensate, over protect or under-recover.
About 10 years ago I began my dive into something I was seeing often, something that did not seem to have a name from what I was able to determine, but one that was fraught with mechanical loading issues that was part of my athletes' symptom collage. I referred to it by what it appeared to be, a "cross over gait", and since then have written a few dozen pieces, at least, that go into the problem, pathomechanics, and correction for my athletes and patients. I have often referred this to as a "failure to stack the lower limb joints", but that is so remedial and non-descript. Almost a decade ago I did the 3 part video series (part 1 is below) and it brought a lot of light to gait problems in runners and a huge variable in unresponsive gluteal tendonopathies, amongst others. One can strengthen the glutes all they want, but if the pattern of pathologic loading is not amended, altered, improved, then the model will fail.
And here is another factor that is interesting brought forth at a recent conference,
"@Bill_Vicenzino Imaging over-estimates compared to clinical presentation - MRI positive for Gluteal Tendinopathy in 77% of cases but clinical presentation only positive in 52%"

Watch my 3 part series, starting with the video below. Get to understand the cross over gait variables and you will get better at remedying gluteal tendonopathy. It is more than just prescribing half a dozen glute exercises.

Shawn Allen, the other gait guy.

#gait, #thegaitguys, #gaitproblems, #gaitanalysis, #glutealtendinopathy, #hippain, #crossovergait, #hipadductors, #hipabduction, #greatertrochanter, #hipbursitis

Hip Abductor Strength In Individuals With Gluteal Tendinopathy: A Cross-sectional Study. Kim Allison et al.
https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/48/Suppl_2/A6.2

Don't coach arm swing.

We often say that arm swing should not be coached.
Here are some of our deeper thoughts as to why we stand firm on this.

Look at this photo, there are lots of different arm swings in every group of runners. These differences are not choices for the most part, the arms are just doing what they must, based off of many parameters in a runner, things that are working right, and not so right.

Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 10.27.29 AM.png

To be more clear, aberrant arm swing is often a compensation to cope with other flawed mechanics elsewhere, things such as a weak core on one side, loss of thoracic lateral bend or rotation, altered limb stability patterns, hip stability challenges etc. Thus, it is almost foolish to change an arm swing that you do not like in you or your client, because often that is not the problem. Arm swing is a power producer, but it is also a huge ballast like appendage that is used to help maintain balance changes. So, look for all possible causes of what you so, that which looked aberrant, and fix those mechanical flaws first.

From Canton: "Current research has yet to determine how passive dynamics and active neural control contribute to upper limb swing during human locomotion. The present study aimed to investigate these contributions by restricting pelvis motion during walking, thereby altering the upward energy transfer from the swinging lower limbs."

Here at The Gait Guys we have discussed for years the principles of the antiphasic nature between the pelvis "girdle" and shoulder "girdles" in that they should move in opposite rotational planes, and yet be equal in their amplitude, and that when this occurs, arm and leg swings are mostly symmetrical, equal in amplitude and symmetrical in their swing planes. This study found that when the pelvis was restricted, that the ranges of motion of the shoulder and trunk, as well as the vertical trunk center of mass movement, were also reduced, as we have said many times in our writings and in quoting the research over the years. This study also supported our long standing position that arm swing is more of a passive phenomenon, yet with complex coupling of the upper and lower limb neural networks, but also strongly taking its queues from the trunk, pelvis and leg swing.

One final thought from us, coaches, especially sprint coaches, are still going to coach arm swing and force arm swing drills, the ones they want to see, to achieve more power. . . . sigh (we get it, speed is important, but there could be a cost to making the body do what is it naturally struggling to do cleanly). So, if you are going to employ these arm swing sprint drills, get someone to fix the aberrant patterns first, if you want to see fewer injuries. Otherwise, don't be surprised if you see in your runners more thoracic lean to one side, a head tilt to one side, athletes complaining of mid or low back or neck pain, tightness, shoulder pain and the list goes on. Forcing your desired coached arm swing pattern on a clients already compensated physiology may have some unwanted costs.
-Dr. Allen (of the gait guys)

From the -Canton and MacLellan paper:
"Relating shoulder muscle activities to upper limb kinematics suggested these muscles mainly acted eccentrically, providing evidence that passive elements are a significant factor in arm swing control. However, the conserved muscle activity patterns and temporal coupling of limb movements when pelvis motion was reduced are suggestive of an underlying active maintenance of the locomotor pattern via linked upper and lower limb neural networks."

Active and passive contributions to arm swing: Implications of the restriction of pelvis motion during human locomotion.Canton S1, MacLellan MJ2. Hum Mov Sci. 2018 Feb;57:314-323. doi: 10.1016/j.humov.2017.09.009. Epub 2017 Sep 25.

Loaded Carry, Addendum idea

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Recently, Jan 13th, 2018, we posted 2 photos of the Farmer's carry, in that specific case how to use it to drive more load into the hip stabilizers as opposed to the lateral abdominals. Here is how we progress someone from wide step walking corrections, we add the step up. The next progression is to be sure they do not lose the hip hike as they try to return the foot to the ground, which you do not see here. Note the kettlebell in the LEFT hand. They will have to do that (return the RIGHTfoot to the ground) through a knee bent knee mini-squat-lunge, to keep the gmedius on. Or, they can just do a controlled eccentric, but that is even more attention. Most people just let the RIGHT glutes go entirely to get the LEFT swing leg back to the ground, no bueno ! This is not normal gait, but it is what most people do because they do not have command of the glutes in the 3 phasese: early, mid and late stance. In fact, most people fail through all 3 phases, but certainly the Early and Late phases are the toughest, with the Late phase being the most challenging. The glutes should remain active through the next foot contact phase.

Details matter in a Loaded Carry.


Last night I lectured on the Cross over gait. I discussed at one point using one sided carries, a heavy farmer's carry, to stimulate more activity on the stance leg , particularly focusing on driving more hip stability. But, it matters how you do it.

Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 9.48.18 AM.png

The photos i have attached are both technically a farmers carry unilaterally. One I am working my gluteus medius and hip stabilizers more, and the other i am using my lateral abdominal chain more (more of a compensated Trendeleberg type gait, and we know that hip pain patients lean in a Trendeleberg gait to reduce the activity of the glute medius to reduce compression across the joint (2/3 reduction)). If you are trying to help your client reduce their cross over gait with more hip stability building, one of them is going to hit the mark far better than the other.
So, if your clients are walking a line in their Farmer's carry, think about what you/they are actually doing (likely less hip stability stimulation).
The exercise should fit your goal. Have them walk feet on either side of a wider balance beam to get more stance phase glute activity (try it yourself, the wider your step width the more hip loading you get), or, have them walk a line and lean more into the frontal plane to get more abdominal. It is not a perfect science, but you do get a different feel from how you do it.

But, it matters how you do it.

Changing step width alters lower extremity biomechanics during running.

Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 9.45.08 AM.png

The Cross over gait. We have been talking about this for years, our theories have been supported by the available research and years of patient care.
Here is another study that goes with our ideas, which gives it deeper clinical relevance.

Changing step width alters lower extremity biomechanics during running. Brindle RA1, Milner CE, Zhang S, Fitzhugh EC. Gait Posture. 2014

"Step width is a spatiotemporal parameter that may influence lower extremity biomechanics at the hip and knee joint. Peak hip adduction and rearfoot eversion angles decreased as step width increased from narrow to wide."
Step width influences lower extremity biomechanics in healthy runners. "When step width increased from narrow to wide, peak values of frontal plane variables decreased.

The Fredericson paper (Hip Abductor weakness in distance runners with iliotibial band syndrome) is also supportive. That paper found that increasing step width reduced the strain on the iliotibial band during running. Greater ITB strain and strain rate were found in the narrower step width condition.

We have said it, and will say it again, because someone will post here, "maybe, but all the pros when you watch then and see photos of them, they all have a very narrow step width, basically qualifying for what you guys call a Cross Over gait. So how can you make such bold statements?"
Our response would be, "every attempt at squeezing out more economy in ones gait, walking that fine line of riskier gait mechanics, is a game of playing ECONOMY vs. LIABILITY. And if you have built enough durability and conditioning into your system that you can nudge right up to that fence of RISK, you can play with those liabilities and squeeze out the economy of your gait (like the pros) with that narrower step width. Just be aware and careful, that when you are losing control, as the runs lengthen, that the LIABILITIES are increasing and thus so is the RISK for injury. Just remember, you are likely not a pro, and have not spend the time building a safe zone of durability on your system to endure narrow step width for 26 miles.

A good runner will train the frontal and rotational planes regularly as they engage in their sagittal sport of running. So that as fatigue sets in and the step width begins to narrow, they have some durability of the lower limb to sustain the risky mechanics of the narrow step width. There is a limit for everyone, when the well goes dry.

The Cross Over Running Technique: A Quick Case Study

Walk on a piece of string or along a seam in the concrete or walk on the lane dividing lines on your local high school or college track. What happens ? If you walk on a single line you will find yourself more unstable as compared to walking with a foot fall directly under your hips and knees the way it is supposed to occur. The limbs are a pendulum and economy and biomechanical efficiency as well as injury reduction will occur when the parts operate in the most effective manner.

We have all of our cross over runners, as you see her doing in the first half of this video before she corrects to anti-cross over (ie. natural), first walk on a line. In our case we use the metal drainage grate outside our office that you see in the video for just that purpose, they walk the grate. Then they run the grate. We ask them to feel how unstable they are in the frontal plane walking the grate. Then we have them walk with their feet only touching the outer edges of the grate, now not crossing over. They can feel the difference, the increased stability. They all say it is easier to walk with the thighs, knees and feet all barely scuffing past one another but after they feel the other most will comment that they can see and feel how lazy their gait and running gait have become. They can feel the better posture, more gluteals and more power that an anti-cross over gait affords them. Then they run the grate again. Then they run the edges of the grate. You see this skill builder in the video above.

In this video clip, after 60 seconds of coaching, this top NCAA distance track athlete (often injured) was able to make the change immediately. You can see after just a few strides the immediate and dramatic change in her gait. We then had her drift back and forth between lazy cross over and the corrected anti-cross over gait. We do this so that on her long runs, when she notices the inside shoes scuff past one another, when they notice the feet begin to run on a line, when the thighs begin brushing past each other that she can immediately make the correction. It will happen often during the beginning stages of developing the new neurologic skill pattern. Motor pattern learning takes up to 12 weeks before the neuroplasticity becomes more worthy of the dominant pattern of choice.

We have all of our athletes head over to the oval track and run not in the lanes, but on the line. To be precise, they run with their feet on either side of the line, making sure they have that visual feedback for the correction. They run over the line. We drove past a local high school the other day and saw the entire girls cross country team on the track running not in the lanes, but over the lines. We smiled big, and long. We know the coach, he follows our stuff, and he will prevent so many injuries this year in his runners. They have a 15 minute pre-run warm up and skill building for their runners. They will be competitive at the State level once again because they will show up with everyone healthy and free of injury, we can only hope. They will have a better chance than others who keep doing what they did last year, and the year before that, and the year before that.

If you are doing what you did last year in your training, expect last years results.

Want to know more? Join Dr Allen this Wednesday evening on onlineCE.com, Biomechanics 316

Your center of mass in relation to foot strike position.

For those arm swing/pulsers/ COM and head over foot folks consider some more research below.
Let the CNS drive the show, it is what it is there for . . . The leg motor patterns are dominant, the arms are passive and "shape" and influence the leg swing as a balance and ballast effect. As we discuss in an upcoming podcast, to cross the arms in a pumping motion across the midline of the body means one has to have compromised scapular mechanics (mostly protraction) to afford that much humeral adduction. This means we are forcing thoracic rotation as well. This means we are reversing what we know is more true, that "arm motion is driven passively by rotation of the thorax (Pontzer et al., 2009), an idea which is supported by shoulder muscle EMG data" (and not thoracic rotation by arm swing). Why would we try to create more unnatural axial spin through the spine when we are actually trying to move forward in the sagittal plane? Why would we try to force more rotation through the spine when the function of the thoracopelvic canister (ie. the core) is to stabilize rotational /angluar momentum? Hmmmm, things to ponder.

"Previous modelling studies have clearly shown that motion of the arms effectively counterbalances the angular momentum of the lower extremities during running (Hamner & Delp, 2013; Hamner et al., 2010). It has further been suggested that arm motion is driven passively by rotation of the thorax (Pontzer et al., 2009), an idea which is supported by shoulder muscle EMG data, consistent with the shoulders as spring-like linkages (Ballesteros, Buchthal, & Rosenfalck, 1965). Our data are con- sistent with this idea, showing motion of the thorax to be in the opposite direction to that of the swinging leg. Pontzer et al. (2009) also suggested that motion of the thorax is driven passively by motion of the pelvis. However, our data shows that the thorax reaches its peak angular velocity earlier than the pelvis, indicating that thorax motion is not completely passively driven by pelvic movements."

-S.J. Preece et al. / Human Movement Science 45 (2016) 110–118

Pod 136: Part 2: Head over Foot? Where should we put our COM (center of mass)?


This podcast (135) and its soon to launch follow up podcast (136), as the intro explains, comes at the tail end of a series of thought debates between Shawn and Ivo with some folks who have a different view point.  While the debate is unsettled because there is not sufficient research to support one side, we feel the research leans towards our side of things.  However, as the debates went on, it became clear to us that both parties were approaching the debate from a different metric to gauge each party's beliefs.  We outline this in the introduction and then more forward into our dialogue.  We hope you find this a productive thought experiment.

Key words: cross over gait, head over foot, HOF, gait, gait analysis, COM, COP, center of mass, center of pressure, step width, sprinting, symmetry, running injuries

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_136final.mp3

Permalink URL: http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/pod-136-part-2-head-over-foot-where-should-we-put-our-com-center-of-mass

Libsyn URL:http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/6586622


Our Websites:
www.thegaitguys.com

summitchiroandrehab.com doctorallen.co shawnallen.net

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 ischial-femoral impingement might look like as aberrant shoe wear.

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Can a cross over occur on one side of the body ? Sure, this case is a perfect example. The heavy lateral shoe wear on the left is a huge clue. But remember, what you see is not the problem, it is the result of their problem(s).

. . . a talented marathoner came into our office complaining of a long standing deep posterior right hip pain and an equally longstanding left chronic lateral ankle and foot pain. The ankle had been treated regularly for chronic peroneal tendonitis with various manual therapy modalities and yet the right hip seemed to be left out of the equation in terms of treatment.

After taking a detailed history this runner unknowingly pretty much told us they had all the qualifications of ischial-femoral impingement (IFI). What they did not realize was that they had a cross over gait style that was a significant contributor to the clinical problem.

Here is a nice rewind case for your Friday read.

____________________

link:  https://thegaitguys.tumblr.com/post/116468620969/what-ischial-femoral-impingement-might-look-like

What ischial-femoral impingement might look like as aberrant shoe wear.

A few weeks ago we wrote an article on ischial-femoral impingement. For you to best understand today’s blog post you really should go back and review this interesting clinical phenomenon, here is the link to that piece.

Three weeks ago a talented marathoner came into our office complaining of a long standing deep posterior right hip pain and an equally longstanding left chronic lateral ankle and foot pain.  The ankle had been treated regularly for chronic peroneal tendonitis with various manual therapy modalities and yet the right hip seems to be left out of the equation in terms of treatment.

After taking a detailed history this runner unknowingly pretty much told us they had all the qualifications of ischial-femoral impingement (IFI).  What they did not realize was that they had a cross over gait style that was a significant contributor to the clinical problem.  

Lets now have a look at the shoe wear patterns above. On the left shoe, (a shoe we love, New Balance Fresh Foam (find your next pair at NewBalance Chicago)) we see that the entry zone or crash zone of rear foot impact is heavily worn, especially laterally. Heavy entry zone wear can be from several things, but one thing we always check for and assume until proven otherwise is a cross over gait. It can also just be from excessive rearfoot inversion at foot strike but when excessive there is usually a reason for it, especially when unilaterally as seen here. This foot is not stacking under the knee and hip, it is striking more midline to a plumb line dropped from the hip joint. This creates a steep medial angle of attack. The question is why ? Well, in the history the right hip pain began first and then the left ankle pain, so one should at least consider a compensatory timeline, that being the foot is a compensation in the gait cycle from the painful hip.

This client on examination tested pretty obviously for a right frontal plane drift, meaning when the right foot impacts there is not enough lateral line support to hold the hip/pelvis over the foot and so the pelvis drifts laterally to the right in this case. This can be fought by inverting the foot. This is a strategy to try and stop the lateral drift.  In this case, excessive wear is seen on the entire lateral side of the right shoe to represent this compensation. Changing this clients foot wear, shoe, orthotic is not fixing the problem, in fact it is impairing their ability to compensate and could create more problems, and even another deeper layer of compensation. Again, the inverted/supinated right foot moves the weightbearing line laterally, by moving the foot’s center of pressure from within the confines of the foot tripod towards the lateral border of the foot tripod, in attempt to restack the loading over the laterally drifted hip (hence the right lateral shoe wear pattern). Unfortunately this does not solve the reason for the lateral drifted pelvis. That solution has to come from improved stablization of the hip, pelvis and core and since they tested weak on the right side abdominals, gluteus medius, gluteus max and other  accessory lateral stabilizers,  work must be done there. Interestingly, this runner is stuck into a vicious cycle. The lateral drift to the right is allowing the left hemi-pelvis to dip and this is challenging rotational control of the stance limb and it is causing ischial-femoral impingement (suspecting of the quadratus femoris).  It was clear on examination that there was impairment of the quadratus femoris and obturator externus upon detailed testing and deep palpation was pin point tender over these structures.  Resistance to rotational challenges to the limb, especially iso and eccentric internal rotational challenges, were very poor when it came to coordination, endurance and certainly strength.

Remember, when you are spending time going sideways (right frontal plane drift), you are not spending time moving forwards. This could cause an early right departure and force and early left stance engagement.  But it goes deeper than that in this case.  Here, the right frontally drifting pelvis will pull the left swing leg across the midline with it, creating a left cross over gait.  This will make more sense if you watch our popular video here. Link

So, when this left swing leg is forced into the cross over gait variant, it will force a strong lateral heel strike, as evidenced on the left shoe wear. This is a compensation to what is going on in the right side body mechanics.

Can a cross over occur on one side of the body ? Sure, this case is a perfect example.

Can a cross over gait on the left in this case, cause a vicious cycle and in itself create an environment whereby a right ischio-femoral impingment occurs ?  Sure, neuronal plasticity can be a bitch, it can work in your favor, and against you.

This is not a tough case, if you have seen the beast before and you recognize all of its parameters. If you have not seen the beast before, this case is a nightmare with all these pieces (deep buttock pain, impingement, frontal drift, cross over, strange shoe wear pattern, opposite ankle peroneal pain etc).  Do you have to get this right every time with a bulls eye diagnosis and remedy? Heck no, we flounder every day with new things and variants of old. Sometimes the layers of compensations are so deep that it takes weeks before a recognizable layer presents itself. Patience on both the client and the doctor are necessary.  

So what we have here is a fairly classic shoe wear pattern of a right laterally drifting pelvis and a cross over left leg. In this case it was from a weak right core and pelvis drift creating an environment for the generation of a right ischial-femoral impingement syndrome, driving a left peroneal tendonopathy scenario from the ensuing left cross over gait.  

Remember, don’t fix your clients shoe wear pattern and certainly do not make shoe recommendations from what you see in their shoe wear pattern. Recommending a different shoe to fix this clients problem is a mistake. As is prescribing an orthotic, different foot bed, adding wedges and postings to the shoe or foot bed can also be  mistake. Define the source of the problem, before you go start tinkering around with the bottom of the kinetic chain. Want more ? Try taking our National Shoe fit program to get deeper into this kind of stuff.

We were lucky enough to get this runner’s problem spot on. After many failed attempts by others, this case was 50-75% resolved in one session with the right homework and a great understanding by the runner of their problem. They fully engaged themselves in the understanding of the problem and what they needed to be aware of in their walking and running gait. They were diligent with their homework and understood how it would help the presentation. They presented again to the clinic this week for a focused session to drive the problem further out of town and they are now on their way to the Boston Marathon with a smile and tools to fix the problem. There is a little more fine tuning to do here, but we can wait until they return from Boston.

Good luck in Boston everyone !

We hope this case helps you help someone else, that is the point after all.

Shawn and Ivo, the gait guys

 

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

Screen Shot 2018-04-06 at 8.25.49 AM.png

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

Pod 135: Part 1: Head over Foot? Where should we put our COM (center of mass)?

Key words: cross over gait, head over foot, HOF, gait, gait analysis, COM, COP, center of mass, center of pressure, step width, sprinting, symmetry, running injuries

This podcast (135) and its soon to launch follow up podcast (136), as the intro explains, comes at the tail end of a series of thought debates between Shawn and Ivo with some folks who have a different view point.  While the debate is unsettled because there is not sufficient research to support one side, we feel the research leans towards our side of things.  However, as the debates went on, it became clear to us that both parties were approaching the debate from a different metric to gauge each party's beliefs.  We outline this in the introduction and then more forward into our dialogue.  We hope you find this a productive thought experiment.
 

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_135final.mp3

Permalink URL: http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/pod-135-part-1-head-over-foot-where-should-we-put-our-com-center-of-mass

Libsyn URL: http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/6309104


Our Websites:
www.thegaitguys.com

summitchiroandrehab.com doctorallen.co shawnallen.net

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.