Correcting movement problems : the power of opening a neurological window to change the brain's cortical representation.

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Show notes:

Hop strength
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30844991
J Strength Cond Res. 2019 May;33(5):1201-1207. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003102.
Reactive Strength Index and Knee Extension Strength Characteristics Are Predictive of Single-Leg Hop Performance After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction.Birchmeier T1, Lisee C1, Geers B2, Kuenze C


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28605231

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6110230/pdf/jpts-30-1069.pdf

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This podcast is for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing, rehab, treatment, therapy recommendations or anything of the sort. This podcast should not replace proper medical advise that should only be attained through proper medical channels that would entail a full medical  and/or biomechanical physical examination and/or appropriate diagnostic testing. No doctor-patient relationship is formed by listening to this podcast or any information gleaned from our writings or social media work.
The use of this information and the materials linked to the podcast is taken at the users own risk. This podcast and the content shared is not intended to replace or be a substitute for appropriate professional medical advise diagnosis or treatment. Users should not disregard or delay obtaining medical advice for any condition they have and should seek the advice and assistance from their providers for any such conditions.

The banana hallux. When the big toe curls upward

Screen Shot 2019-01-13 at 8.37.54 PM.png

Note: over-extension of the hallux and over-flexion of the 2nd toe. How can they both be so different at rest ? read on

This is common, but not commonly addressed. And, it can become a cause of symptoms.
Note how curled up into extension the hallux appears. This is just a representation of hyperextension of the distal phalange at the IP joint (interphalangeal joint).
This often occurs in hallux limitus/rigidus, where there is insufficient extension through the 1st MTP joint (metatarsophalangeal joint). In that condition, they client attempts to toe off, needing extension (dorsiflexion) at that joint, and they do not have it, so the extension can be found through arch collapse (1st metatarsal dorsiflexion) or through extension at the IP joint. Over time, form follows function and you will often see this presentation.

However, we do not need to see impaired ROM function at the 1st MTP joint, as in this case. This foot had full 1st MTP ROMs.
In this case, this toe represented massive imbalance between the long and short flexors and extensors. Specifically, increased use and strength in the EHL (extensor hallucis longus) and weakness and unawareness of how to even engage the short extensor (EHB).
Similarly, the pairing met the one we always see with this, that being weak and even difficulty of awareness to engage the FHL (flexor hallucis longus) and over-activity of the FHB (short flexor-flexor hallucis brevis).
There pairings: weak: EHB and FHL & overactive: EHL and FHB over time will result in this presentation.

In gait, you will note poor compentence and purchase of the hallux on the ground and thus a sharing of that load through overflexion hammering of the 2nd digit through increased FDL activity (note the great evidence of this with the thick obvious callus at the tip of the 2nd toe).
These clients can also often have pain at the plantar aspect of the Metatarsal head because of sesamoid imbalanced loading (sesamoiditis) as well as frank pain at the MTP joint dorsally or plantarward. One will often note a medial pinch callus on these feet medial to the metatarsal head, from a rotational spin toe off. Hallux valgus and bunion formation are also not uncommmon at all in this incompetent hallux presentation.
PS: the solution is so much more complex and involved than just towel-scrunches and marble pick up games. I mean, come on, we can do better that this team !
This requires some serious reteaching of how to use the foot, arch, tripod, windlass and foot-ground engagement skills.

Shawn and Ivo, the gait guys

#gait, #gaitproblems, #gaitcompensatins, #gaitanalysis, #bunions, #halluxvalgus, #sesamoiditis, #turftoe, #halluxlimitus, #pinchcallus, #bananatoe, #metatarsalgia, #thegaitguys, #hammertoe

You might think your shoe is doing more to control motion of your foot than it is actually doing.

You might think your shoe is doing more to control motion of your foot than it is actually doing.

"The measurement of rearfoot kinematics by placing reflective markers on the shoe heel assumes its motion is identical to the foot’s motion."
The results of this study revealed that "calcaneal frontal plane ROM was significantly greater than neutral and support shoe heel ROM. Calcaneus ROM was also significantly greater than shoe heel ROM in the transverse and sagittal planes. No change in tibial transverse plane ROM was observed."

It is easy to underestimate the calcaneal ROM across all planes of motion. Motion is going to occur somewhere, hopefully you can help your client control the excessive ROMs that are occurring and causing their symptoms. But just do not think that a shoe is going to markedly help, it might, but let your interventions and your client's feedback on pain lead you.

Calcaneus range of motion underestimated by markers on running shoe heel.
Ryan S. Alcantara'Correspondence information about the author Ryan S. AlcantaraEmail the author Ryan S. Alcantara
, Matthieu B. Trudeau, Eric S. Rohr
Human Performance Laboratory, Brooks Running Company, 3400 Stone Way N, Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98103 United States

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 . . .

Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 12.45.13 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 12.45.50 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 12.48.24 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 12.48.17 PM.png

The rigid flat foot. Why an orthotic may not work well at all.

Just because the foot is flat (arch collapsed) does not mean you have a right to try and lift it !
This is a perfect example of a foot that is troubled. It is a rigid flat foot deformity. This acquired over a long period of time. Sometimes tibialis posterior insufficiency over time finally gives way to an incompetent tib posterior, with eventual arch gradual collapse into a pes planus flat deformity, and then time takes its effect to contracture and shorten tissue and arthritic change makes it permanent.
This arch will no longer lift, it is a rigid pes planus. IT will not tolerate an orthotic, SO DO NOT PRESCRIBE ONE ! Even a mild orthotic lift will feel like a golf ball under this arch.
And, to take this one step further, a rockered shoe is, in part, the right idea, but not when the foot does not sagittally toe off. This foot is permanently locked into a full limb external rotation because of hip arthritic change. The point is that his foot progression angle is 45 degrees++, and the rocker will not work if it cannot rocker in the sagittal plane.
This guy wanted an orthotic, and i would not give it to him, and you shouldn't either. He will wear it for 1 minute and throw it away.

Shawn Allen, the other gait guy

#gait, #anklerocker, #forefootrocker, #footprogression, #archcollapse

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

You might think your shoe is doing more to control motion of your foot than it is actually doing.

You might think your shoe is doing more to control motion of your foot than it is actually doing.

"The measurement of rearfoot kinematics by placing reflective markers on the shoe heel assumes its motion is identical to the foot’s motion."
The results of this study revealed that "calcaneal frontal plane ROM was significantly greater than neutral and support shoe heel ROM. Calcaneus ROM was also significantly greater than shoe heel ROM in the transverse and sagittal planes. No change in tibial transverse plane ROM was observed."

It is easy to underestimate the calcaneal ROM across all planes of motion. Motion is going to occur somewhere, hopefully you can help your client control the excessive ROMs that are occurring and causing their symptoms. But just do not think that a shoe is going to markedly help, it might, but let your interventions and your client's feedback on pain lead you.

Calcaneus range of motion underestimated by markers on running shoe heel.
Ryan S. Alcantara'Correspondence information about the author Ryan S. AlcantaraEmail the author Ryan S. Alcantara
, Matthieu B. Trudeau, Eric S. Rohr
Human Performance Laboratory, Brooks Running Company, 3400 Stone Way N, Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98103 United States

Premature heel rise: Part 2

VIDEO: an atypical case of Premature heel rise. A follow up video for yesterdays discussion on the topic.

You should easily see premature heel rise here in this video. We will discuss this case at length with other video projections on our Patreon site next week, if you wish to dive further.

But here you should see, lets focus on the right limb, premature heel rise (again, stick with just watching the right foot/leg). This is, in-part, because this person does not achieve adequate hip extension, you should clearly be able to see that. Loss of terminal hip extension means premature heel rise, no exceptions. Train your eye to see this, you do not need expensive video software to see this.

So, Why inadequate hip extension? Well, just look at the amount of right knee flexion going into terminal stance, it is still heavily flexed and this forces them to prematurely heel rise, avoiding terminal hip extension, and prematurely load the forefoot. Without a knee that extends sufficiently, the hip cannot extend sufficiently, and thus premature heel rise is inevitable. And, trying to solve this issue down at the foot/ankle level is foolish in this case. Stretching this calf day after day until aliens come visit earth will still not be enough stretch time to fix this premature heel rise (ie. get that heel to stay down longer). There is a good reason why this is happening in this person, and it is a neurologic one, one we will discuss on the Patreon site for our Patrons. And, the reason does not matter for the concept I am teaching here today.

For today, you need to be able to see premature heel rise, and know all of the issues behind it, including causes, so that you can direct your phyiscial examination to solve your client's puzzle.
I have included yesterday's post below so you can review and bring this further together.
This is the kind of stuff we will do at Dr. Allen's Friday night Gait Lab, over some beverages. A unique, clinically curious and hungry 25 people need only apply. If you want to get to the next level of your human movement game, this is a way to get there.

Yesterday's post: We know that early/premature heel rise (PHR) leads to premature loading of the forefoot.
We know that premature heel rise (PHR) speeds us through many of the timely mechanical events that need and should occur for to get to safe and effective toe off during walking and running gaits.
This is why there are so many variables that need to be assessed and checked before instituting care to address the premature heel rise, because many times the problem is not even near the heel.
Consider, examine, assess (this is not an exhaustive list either) of causes of PHR
-short calf complex
-short quad (limits hip extension)
- short hip flexors
-anterior pelvis tilt as one's deviated norm posture
- prolonged or excessive rearfoot inversion
-lack of appropriate pronation (sustained supination)
-hallux limitus, rigidus
- weak anterior compartment lower leg
-lack of hip extension/weak glutes
-knee flexion contracture
- neurologic (toe walking gait from youth)
-painful achilles tendon mechanism
- loss of ankle rocker (which has its own long list)
. . . . to name a few

This is why you need to examine your clients, even after a gait analysis. Because, as we like to say, what you see is not your clients gait problem, it is their work around to other mechanical deficits.
After all, telling someone they just need to lengthen/stretch their calf to keep that heel down longer is utterly foolish.

*want to learn more about this stuff, you can join the upcoming Dr. Allen, Friday night Gait Lab series that he will be having in his office one Friday a month, in his Chicagoland office. Stay tuned for that notice. I will take only 25 people per session. We will dive into videos, cases, concepts, white-board rabbit holes, and enjoy some beverages and learn together. Stay tuned. The first 25 to pay and sign up are in !

Shawn Allen, the other gait guy

#gait, #gaitproblems, #gaitanalysis, #heelrise, #PHR, #prematureheelrise, #achilles, #achillestendinitis, #anklerocker, #heelrocker, #forefootpain, #halluxlimitus, #halluxrigidus, #heelpain

Premature heel rise: Part 1

IMG_1603.jpg

We know that early/premature heel rise (PHR) leads to premature loading of the forefoot.
We know that premature heel rise (PHR) speeds us through many of the timely mechanical events that need and should occur for to get to safe and effective toe off during walking and running gaits.
This is why there are so many variables that need to be assessed and checked before instituting care to address the premature heel rise, because many times the problem is not even near the heel.
Consider, examine, assess (this is not an exhaustive list either) of causes of PHR
-short calf complex
-short quad (limits hip extension)
- short hip flexors
-anterior pelvis tilt as one's deviated norm posture
- prolonged or excessive rearfoot inversion
-lack of appropriate pronation (sustained supination)
-hallux limitus, rigidus
- weak anterior compartment lower leg
-lack of hip extension/weak glutes
-knee flexion contracture
- neurologic (toe walking gait from youth)
-painful achilles tendon mechanism
- loss of ankle rocker (which has its own long list)
. . . . to name a few

This is why you need to examine your clients, even after a gait analysis. Because, as we like to say, what you see is not your clients gait problem, it is their work around to other mechanical deficits.
After all, telling someone they just need to lengthen/stretch their calf to keep that heel down longer is utterly foolish.

*want to learn more about this stuff, you can join the upcoming Dr. Allen, Friday night Gait Lab series that he will be having in his office one Friday a month, in his Chicagoland office. Stay tuned for that notice. I will take only 25 people per session. We will dive into videos, cases, concepts, white-board rabbit holes, and enjoy some beverages and learn together. Stay tuned. The first 25 to pay and sign up are in !

Shawn Allen, the other gait guy

#gait, #gaitproblems, #gaitanalysis, #heelrise, #PHR, #prematureheelrise, #achilles, #achillestendinitis, #anklerocker, #heelrocker, #forefootpain, #halluxlimitus, #halluxrigidus, #heelpain

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 ?

Top end heel raises. The top end might matter.

Screen Shot 2019-04-19 at 6.34.09 PM.png

Thought experiment . . .
If top end posterior compartment (loosely, the calf complex) strength is lacking, then heel rise may not be optimized to transfer body mass forward sufficiently and effectively.
This lack of forward progression, fails to move the body mass sufficiently forward enough to reduce the external moment arms and optimize the internal moment arms to take maximal advantage of the calf complex (I am talking about moment arms between the grounded 1st MTP joint and ankle mortise & ankle mortise and achilles tendon).
These are rough thoughts today gang, letting you inside our heads and how we juggle multiple parameters when we are struggling to solve a client's problems.

In the lower heel rise photo, The body mass does not progress forward enough over the grounded first MTP joint at the big toe (during gait, the heel doesn’t just rise up, the axis of the ankle joint moves both up and forward).
In this case, the foot may not be fully rigid in a supinated position to benefit from joint closed-packed positions. Thus, the foot may be more pliable and one might suppose that if not adequately supinated, they are inadequately still too much relatively pronated. This might put more load into the tibialis posterior and other soft tissue mechanical loading scenarios that are less optimally suited to do this job. Over time, might this lead to pathology? Likely.
Thus, when running on a weaker posterior mechanism (often found unilaterally) the higher up posterior chains might be overburdened, the tendon loads and loading response of the achilles, tibialis posterior, and long flexors will be most likely altered, likely negatively, the naturally occurring foot locking mechanisms might be less optimal than desired, subtalar and forefoot loading might be premature (ie. sesamoid malpositioning for one, as a simple example), etc etc. Loading a foot(the mid and forefoot) into heel rise that is still somewhat pronated creates a different moment arm around the subtalar joint axis (that moves through the 1st metatarsal), than a foot that is more supinated.

Now, put these ideas into the 2 photos from yesterday where one might be loading the forefoot laterally or more medially, and now make the top end strength more in one of those scenarios. Is it any wonder why so many struggle with posteiror mechanism tendonopathies ? There are so many parameters to consider and examine. And, if not examined in great detail, the key lacking parameter can be missed.
Hence, just forcing calf strength loading is too simple a solution, there is a needle in that haystack that upset the client's apple cart, it is the job of the clinician to find it and remedy it.

Today, looking into the research and finding some interesting things that are spurring some thoughts.

Shawn Allen, one of the gait guys

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

Screen Shot 2019-04-08 at 4.21.31 PM.png
Screen Shot 2019-04-08 at 4.21.23 PM.png

Case Studies in Gait Analysis: Focus on the Short Leg (online video class)

Case Studies in Gait Analysis: Focus on the Short Leg
*link is below

*this is the online Continuing education class we did last week, for those of you who could not get to the Wednesday evening class.
*our entire catalogue of lectures and seminars are all here on this site for CE/CEU

Case Studies in Gait Analysis: Focus on the Short Leg
- Review anatomical vs functional short leg
-Review the kinematics and kinetics of the short leg during the gait cycle
-View and discuss case studies looking at functional and anatomical short legs
-Predict pathomechanics that will arise from a short leg
-Propose remedies for the gait abnormalities seen

Link: https://chirocredit.com/course/Chiropractic_Doctor/Biomechanics_211

Screen Shot 2019-04-22 at 1.20.16 PM.png

The hip flexors do not pull the leg forward during swing (mostly).

The hip flexors are not responsible for pulling/flexing the swing leg forward in gait or running. The psoas is a mere swing phase perpetuator, not an initiator.
For about 2 decades we have been saying in our lectures, posts and podcasts that it is the reduction of the obliquity of the pelvis during gait from various other tissues and biomechanical events that causes leg swing, meaning the trail leg is brought forward in swing largely by the abdominal muscle linkage to the pelvis (and other loaded tissues) that is responsible for forward swing of the leg. It is not the hip flexor group that does this hip flexion action. Thus it could be considered foolish to train the hip flexors to be the primary swing drivers. Here is another supporting piece of research.

"These experiments also showed that the trailing leg is brought forward during the swing phase without activity in the flexor muscles about the hip joint. This was verified by the absence of EMG activity in the iliacus muscle measured by intramuscular wire electrodes. Instead the strong ligaments restricting hip joint extension are stretched during the first half of the swing phase thereby storing elastic energy, which is released during the last half of the stance phase and accelerating the leg into the swing phase. This is considered an important energy conserving feature of human walking. "

Dan Med J. 2014 Apr;61(4):B4823.
Contributions to the understanding of gait control.
Simonsen EB1.

More on the scourge of Flip Flops. Riding the inside edge of the sandal. Mystery hunting with Dr. Allen.

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Tis the season upon us. Riding the inside edge of the sandal.
You can see it in the photo, the heel is a third of the way off the sandal.

You either have it or have seen it. It is frustrating as hell if you have it. Your heel rides on only half of your flip flop or summer sandals. You do not notice it in shoes, only in sandals, typically ones without a back or back strap. This is because the heel has no controlling factors to keep it confined on the rear of the sandal sole. There is no heel counter on open backed shoes and sandals, the counter keeps the heel central on the back of the footwear. There is a reason this inside edge riding happens to some, but not everyone. It is best you read on, this isn’t as simple as it might seem.

These clients may have restricted ankle rocker (dorsiflexion), restricted hip extension and/or adductor twist (if your reference is the direction the heel is moving towards). I could even make a biomechanical case that a hallux limitus could result in the same scenario. So what happens is that as the heel lifts and adducts it does not rise directly vertically off the sandal, it spins off medially from the “adductor twist” event. This event is largely from a torque effect on the limb from the impaired sagittal mechanics as described above, manifesting at the moment of premature heel rise resulting in an slightly externally rotating limb (adducting heel). The sandal eventually departs the ground after the heel has risen, but the sandal will rise posturing slightly more laterally ( you can clearly see this on the swing leg foot in the air, the sandal remains laterally postured). Thus, on the very next step, the sandal is not entirely reoriented with its rear foot under the heel, and the event repeats itself. The sandal is slightly more lateral at the rear foot, but to the wearer, we believe it is our heel that is more medial because that is the way it appears on the rear of the sandal or flip flop. Optical illusion, kind of… . . a resultant biomechanical illusion is more like it.

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You will also see this one all over the map during the winter months in teenagers who swear by their Uggs and other similar footwear, as you can see in the 2nd photo above. This is not an Ugg or flip flop problem though, this is often a biomechanical foot challenge that is not met by a supportive heel counter and may be a product of excessive rear foot eversion as well. This does not translate to a “stable” enough shoe or boot, that is not what this is about. This is about a rearfoot that moves to its biomechanical happy place as a result of poor or unclean limb and foot biomechanics and because the foot wear does not have a firm stable and controlling heel counter. This is not about too much pronation, so do not make that mistake. And orthotic is not the answer. A heel counter is the answer. The heel counter has several functions, it grabs the heel during heel rise so that the shoe goes with the foot, it give the everting rearfoot/heel something to press against, and as we have suggested today, it helps to keep the rearfoot centered over the shoe platform. To be clear however, the necessary overuse and gripping of the long toe flexors to keep flip flops and backless sandals on our feet during the late stance and swing phases of gait, clearly magnifies these biomechanical aberrations that bring on the “half heel on, half heel off” syndrome.

There you have it. Another solution to a mystery in life that plagues millions of folks.

Shawn Allen, the other gait guy

More on tendon stiffness

There has been much discussion about tendon stiffness in the last few years. Here is an interesting paper.

Here is a piece of the authors' hypothesis. " If tendons can be overloaded, their mechanical properties should change during exercise. "
The present study measured AT stiffness before and after a marathon.
Here is what they found in this study, "AT stiffness did not change significantly from the pre-race value of 197±62 N mm−1 (mean ± s.d.) to the post-race value of 206±59 N mm−1 (N=12, P=0.312). Oxygen consumption increased after the race by 7±10% (P<0.05) ". This was a small N study, but that leaves room for more large scale studies to see if it holds up.
What remains interesting and head scratching to us is that a tendon has its tension developed by the muscle contracting that is attached to it. So, one would think that a marathon would cause some fatigue in the calf which would change the tension in the achilles. But we are brought to the thought that perhaps stiffness and tension are not the same animals, not even close ?
However, the article mentions this, "A typical training effect, regardless of whether training is plyometric or isometric resistance training, is an increase in AT stiffness (Burgess et al., 2007), although the effect may be invariant to training background as runners and non-runners were found to have similar AT stiffness (Rosager et al., 2002). " Perhaps, what we are talking about however is a "baseline" level of stiffness, that is so fixed that even fatigue does not impact this low level ?
The big question is then, why the AT is so prone to injuries if stiffness remains the big question, and the goal post in rehab restoration?
Here is where these authors leave us, "Thus it may be that running itself does not predispose the AT to injuries. Rather, a combination of a rapid increase in stress, a quick crossover to new sporting activities without a training period, poor technique and/or improper footwear could play a role that has not yet been identified."
A reasonable thought, but leaving us all with more questions than answers it seems.

Additionally, 9 of the 12 subjects, the marathon induced a change in their foot strike technique but they postulated that this could be muscle fatigue related. After all, we cannot forget that there is a whole body attached to this achilles.

Achilles tendon stiffness is unchanged one hour after a marathon
Jussi Peltonen, Neil J. Cronin, Lauri Stenroth, Taija Finni, Janne Avela
Journal of Experimental Biology 2012 215: 3665-3671; doi: 10.1242/jeb.068874

the current understanding of how tendons respond to loading, unloading, ageing and injury

A muscle contract, transfers load across the tendon into the attachment to another bone on the other side of a joint, sometimes across 2 joints. There can be a mechanical flaw/injury in the muscle or tendon, or the joint, if inflamed, can neurologically inhibit that muscle-tendon team. The journal abstract has a nice diagram looking at the potential cellular and molecular changes at the tendon interval.
"Here we review the current understanding of how tendons respond to loading, unloading, ageing and injury from cellular, molecular and mechanical points of view. "- S. Peter Magnusson, Michael Kjaer

https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/JP275450

When we try to dorsiflex through the midfoot instead of the ankle.

A foot bump. Read on . . .

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We see this kind of thing all the time. This is a fixed pes planus (flat foot). When we dorsiflex the big toe, the arch does not go up as you see in the photo. That is passive dorsiflexion, if the arch does not go up passively, there is no way you are actively going to achieve this. And, using an orthotic to "attempt" to raise this arch is not only pointless, but it is futile and it will likely cause them pain. This arch does not rise, no matter how hard you put up into it. The bump, that is the navicular bone, and its associated arthritic build up at the adjacent joints, and likely soft tissue accommodation/hypertrophy. You can't needle, ultrasound, tape, adjust or rub this bump away, so stop wasting your and your patient's time selling them that wasteful thinking. It ain't gonna happen.
This is what happens when someone earns a collapsed longitidinal arch, the 1st metatarsal no longer plantarflexes (arch up) and it becomes fixed in dorsiflexion, thus affecting the mechanics at the proximal aspect of the 1st ray complex (navicular-cuneiform-met intervals).
Why? This happened because this client has significantly compromised ankle mortise dorsiflexion, and they chose to find it at the next joint complex distally, as mentioned above. So, they are finding pseudo-ankle rocker at arch collapse? Yes, we discuss this often, more pronation will advance the tibia forward. It is not desirable, but moving forward has to occur, and some people have no choice but to find it from excessive internal rotation and pronation of the limb. And this is what happens when it happens over years. Now the deformity is painful itself in the shoe, it is a new set of problems for this client.
Can this problem occur in reverse ? Yes, a loss of hallux dorsiflexion can afford the same end result.
We have a rule, at the very VERY least, check the joint above and below the area of problem/symptom. Often you will find another piece of the puzzle causing your client's pain.

Key moment during my knee exam:

Key moment during my exam:

IMG_0962.jpg

Today, a small slice of the Sagittal plane:
Here are just a few of the things going through my mind as i go through the lower limb sagittal plane. Everyone has a different way, this is a piece of mine. . . . .

Do they have sufficient ankle dorsiflexion, active passive?
Are the ankle dorsiflexors strong enough to achieve sufficient ankle dorsi and rocker, and are the ankle plantarflexors long enough, to allow said sufficient ankle dorsiflexion.

And to match with that in terms of gait cycles and loading patterns, do they have sufficient hip extension?
Meaning, are the hip extensors strong enough, and the hip flexor groups (hip flexors and quads of course) long enough, to allow sufficient hip extension.
Are the abdominals strong enough to anchor the pelvis from dropping into uncontrolled or excessive anterior pelvis tilt and paraspinal loading? Because when then do drop into APT, they will convert, likely, into quad dominance and paraspinal dominance (instead of glute-abdom). In otherwords, can they adequately control the hip into the pelvis (acetabulum) and the pelvis into the spine?
When there is a conflict between the foot/ankle and hip in the sagittal plane, problems may occur at these joint levels, and/or above and/or below these joints (ie, low back, knee, or deeper into the foot).
To be clear, none of these joints exclusively work in just the sagittal plane. That many of these joint complexes are multiaxial, and there is always the issues of protective stability in other planes that ensure another planes clean function. This is what makes more deeply explaining how to fix something very difficult on the internet, because it is in fact complex and requires juggling many clinical insights all at once to determine where things have gone wrong in an injured client. And, this was only discussing the sagittal plane today, on the most simple and crudest of levels. What about deeper issues?
And then , of course, how are they doing in frontal and transverse planes? And then how do the 3 planes come together, functionally or dysfunctionally? And, if they cannot control sagittal, are they dumping it into frontal hip or transverse hip ? (ie. see the FB post last week that had a few people all in a butt clench of the runner with the right leg internally rotated/torsional questions).
These are the balls i am juggling when i examine people, slowly building a puzzle from a fresh open box.

Today was just a slice of the pie on lower limb sagittal assessment, just a blip into my mindspace.
And so, if you are not adding an assessment to training or corrective work, and there is a problem that is left unaddressed, then we can be adding strength to dysfunction.

Rocker shoes reduce Achilles tendon load in running and walking in patients with chronic Achilles tendinopathy.

Rocker shoes reduce Achilles tendon load in running and walking in patients with chronic Achilles tendinopathy.

Most likely this is common knowledge for most followers here on The Gait Guys and our podcast (another one will launch this weekend btw).

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But reducing the plantar flexion moment in the late stance phase of running and walking can make notable changes in the loading response to the posterior plantarflexor mechanism (the gastroc-soleus-achilles complex). A rocked shoe, according to this study, can reduce the plantarflexor moment without substantial adaptations in triceps surae muscular activity.
This of course brings to mind the HOKA family of shoes that have purposefully added a gentle rocker mechanism to some of their shoe line, some with an early and some with a late stage metarocker built in. Are you a HOKA hater? We were not fans in their early development because of the volume of stack height foam, but they have many more options in their line up now. But do this for us, do not pass judgement until you put one of these metarockered shoes on, and you will understand the function of it, and their place for your chronic posterior compartment clients. Don't reflexively judge until you try them. It is good to have options for your clients, because "stop running" is not an option for runners, for our runners, unless all else has failed.

Shawn Allen, the other Gait Guy

#thegaitguys, #gait, #hoka, #metarocker, #achilles, #tendinitis, #gaitproblems, #gaitanalysis, #calfpain, #running

J Sci Med Sport. 2015 Mar;18(2):133-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2014.02.008. Epub 2014 Feb 14.

Rocker shoes reduce Achilles tendon load in running and walking in patients with chronic Achilles tendinopathy.

Sobhani S1, Zwerver J2, van den Heuvel E3, Postema K4, Dekker R5, Hijmans JM6.