Symptomatic tendons.

Footnotes 7 - Black and Red.png

A symptomatic tendon affects more than the local area it finds itself, it "affects the neuromuscular control on the involved side but not the non-involved side. The muscle–tendon unit on the tendinotic side exhibits a lowered temporal efficiency, which leads to altered CNS control. The altered CNS control is then expressed as an adapted muscle activation pattern in the lower leg". - Yu-Jen Chang and Kornelia Kulig

A video primer on foot biomechanics.

Rewind Video Friday.
If you ever were unclear on how the sesamoids, 1st MET and FBH (flexor hallucis brevis) and others party together, this video will help you get up to speed.

As we begin the process of generating new videos, we came across this little gem from 8 years ago. Who is this younger punk ? Its Dr. Allen, showing some foot skills and sharing knowledge, stuff that will serve you well as we move forward with new videos.

The “Standing on Glass” Static Foot/Pedograph... PART 2

The “Standing on Glass” Static Foot/Pedograph... PART 2
We hope you find this case presentation dialogue interesting.

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* note: This is a static assessment dialogue. One cannot, and must not, make clinical decisions from a static assessment. As in all assessments, information is taken in, digested and them MUST be confirmed, denied and/or at the very least, folded into a functional and clinically relevant assessment of the client before the findings are accepted, dismissed and acted upon.

Here is the case . . .

Part 2: “Standing on Glass” Static Foot/Pedograph Assessment

* note (see warning at bottom): This is a static assessment dialogue. One cannot, and must not, make clinical decisions from a static assessment. The right and left sides are indicated by the R and L circled in pink. There are 4 photos here today.

Blue lines: Last time we evaluated possible ideas on the ORANGE lines here, it would be to your advantage to start there.

We can see a few noteworthy things here in these photos. We have contrast-adjusted the photo so the pressure areas (BLUE) are more clearly noted. There appears to be more forefoot pressure on the right foot (the right foot is on the readers left), and more rearfoot pressure on the left (not only compare the whiteness factor but look at the displacement of the calcaneal fat pad (pink brackets). There is also noticeably more lateral forefoot pressure on the left. There is also more 3-5 hammering/flexion dominance pressure on the left. The metatarsal fat pad positioning (LIME DOTS represent the distal boundary) is intimately tied in with the proper lumbrical muscle function (link) and migrates forward toward the toes when the flexors/extensors and lumbricals are imbalanced. We can see this fat pad shift here (LIME DOTS). The 3-5 toes are clearly hammering via flexor dominance (LIME ARROWS), this is easily noted by visual absence of the toe shafts, we only see the toe pads. Now if you remember your anatomy, the long flexors of the toes (FDL) come across the foot at an angle (see photo). It is a major function of the lateral head of the Quadratus plantae (LQP) to reorient the pull of those lesser toe flexors to pull more towards the heel rather than on an angle. One can see that in the pressure photos that this muscle may be suspicious of weakness because the toes are crammed together and moving towards the big toe because of the change in FDL pull vector (YELLOW LINES). They are especially crowding out the 2nd toe as one can see, but this can also be from weakness in the big toe, a topic for another time. One can easily see that these component weaknesses have allowed the metatarsal fat pad to migrate forward. All of this, plus the lateral shift weight bearing has widened the forefoot on the left, go ahead, measure it. So, is this person merely weight bearing laterally because they are supinating ? Well, if you read yesterday’s blog post we postulated thoughts on this foot possibly being the pronated one because of its increased heel-toe and heel-ball length. So which is it ? A pronated yet lateral weight bearing foot or a normal foot with more lateral weight bearing because of the local foot weaknesses we just discussed ? Or is it something else ? Is the problem higher up, meaning, are they left lateral weight bearing shift because of a left drifted pelvis from weak glute medius/abdominal obliques ? Only a competent clinical examination will enlighten us.

Is the compensation top-down or bottom up, or both in a feedback cycle trying to find sufficient stability and mobility ? These are all viable possibilities and you must have these things flowing freely through your head during the clinical examination as you rule in/rule out your hands-on findings. Remember, just going by a screen to drive prescription exercises from what you see on the movement screen is not going to necessarily fix the problem, it could in fact lead one to drive a deeper compensation pattern.

Remember this critical fact. After an injury or a long standing problem, muscles and motor patterns jobs are to stabilize and manage loads (stability and mobility) for adequate and necessary movement. Injuries leave a mark on the system as a whole because adaptation was necessary during the initial healing phase. This usually spills over during the early movement re-introduction phase, particularly if movement is reintroduced too early or too aggressively. Plasticity is the culprit. Just because the injury has come and gone does not mean that new patterns of skill, endurance, strength (S.E.S -our favorite mnemonic), stability and mobility were not subsequently built onto the apparently trivial remnants of the injury. There is nothing trivial if it is abnormal. The forces must, and will, play out somewhere in the body and this is often where pain or injury occurs but it is rarely where the underlying problem lives.

Come back tomorrow. We will try to bring this whole thing together, but remember, it will just be a theory for without an exam one cannot prove which issues are true culprits and which are compensations. Remember, what you see is often the compensatory illusion, it is the person moving with the parts that are working and compensating not the parts that are on vacation. See you tomorrow friends !

Shawn and ivo, the gait guys

* note: This is a static assessment dialogue. One cannot, and must not, make clinical decisions from a static assessment. As in all assessments, information is taken in, digested and then MUST be confirmed, denied and/or at the very least, folded into a functional and clinically relevant assessment of the client before the findings are accepted, dismissed and acted upon. As we always say, a gait analysis or static pedograph-type assessment (standing force plate) is never enough to make decisions on treatment to resolve problems and injuries. What is seen and represented on either are the client’s strategies around clinical problems or compensations. Today’s photo and blog post are an exercise in critical clinical thinking to get the juices flowing and to get the observer thinking about the client’s presentation and to help open up the field to questions the observer should be entertaining. The big questions should be, “why do i see this, what could be causing these observances ?”right foot supinated ? or more rear and lateral foot……avoiding pronation ?

Forefoot running, achilles loads & gait retraining

tag/key words: gait, gaitproblems, gaitanalysis, forefootrunning, forefootstrike, achilles, heelstrike, elastography, thegaitguys, microvascularity, rockeredshoes, HOKA, metarocker, gaitretraining,

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Show notes:

Ultrasound elastographic assessment of plantar fascia in runners using rearfoot strike and forefoot strike. Tony Lin-WeiChen et al
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 S et al

The increase in muscle force after 4 weeks of strength training is mediated by adaptations in motor unit recruitment and rate coding. Alessandro Del Vecchio et al

Learning new gait patterns is enhanced by specificity of training rather than progression of task difficulty. ChandramouliKrishnan et al

The microvascular volume of the Achilles tendon is increased in patients with tendinopathy at rest and after a 1-hour treadmill run. Pingel J et al
Am J Sports Med. 2013 Oct;41(10):2400-8. doi: 10.1177/0363546513498988. Epub 2013 Aug 12.

*** Our PODcast disclaimer:
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.

So forget repairing your ACL tear huh?

Soapbox rant today: So forget repairing your ACL tear huh?

Just give it some deep thought before you decide rehab is enough for you. Don't get fully sucked into the non-surgery hype, sometimes there is value and purpose. We are not necessarily saying that we are pro-ACL surgery, but it does have a place when we are talking about a major ligament with many functions beyond articular vector restraint.

*Here is where we see the present problem with the "newer" rehab-only hype for ACL tears . . . . the follow up time frames of the research pieces that suggest that ACLR is sufficient, in our opinion are not long enough into the future (years) to substantiate that secondary instability is not occurring or not a risk. In fact, there are enough articles to substantiate that secondary instability (often deeply rotational) will occur if no ACL repair occurs.

But, other bad things can happen if the joint is not cinched up tightly.
"Increases in TFI (time from injury) are associated with medial meniscal tears, including irreparable medial meniscal tears, medial femoral condyle chondral damage, and early medial tibiofemoral compartment degenerative changes at time of ACLR. These findings highlight the importance of establishing a timely diagnosis and implementing an appropriate treatment plan for patients with ACL injuries. This approach may prevent further instability episodes that place patients at risk of sustaining additional intra-articular injuries in the affected knee. "
*in this study 47.2% were classified as playing competitive or professional sports versus recreational sport

There have been some therapists in the field around the world that have been promoting that ACL surgeries ** are seemingly becoming more and more unnecessary. Their stance seems to be that with hardcore rehab that the knees do just as well, that performance is not lost. Sure, this is possible this or next season, but what about in 2 years? 5 years ? And what will the consequences be then? This article outlines some thoughts.
So, lets just all be careful of the strong points of view we put out there for the consumer. We get their point, but it is foolish to dismiss that the ligament doesn't have a function and is never necessary to replace/repair as this article (and many others report). SECONDARY instability is a real thing, rotational instability in non-ACL repaired** knees is a real thing. Attenuation of secondary joint restraints over time is a real thing, and the cost that comes with those changes. The consequences to the joint structure as secondary instability sneaks in, are a real thing, they are most likely to occur, even if you rehab your client's knee deeply. So be sure that you educate your client, that without their ACL their knee will never be as good, even if you are a champion rehab guru, you are just not that good that you and your rehab can negate all of the rotational vectors of loading in your high level athletes. Time and load will win, just be honest. Just because you do not see consequences tomorrow, just because your top-tier athlete continues to perform this season at top levels without compliant, doesn't mean they will not be present next year. Just be up front with your clients.
And here is another thought to chew on. 24 months ago my Jui-jitsu master Prof Carlos Lemos Jr. tore his ACL. We rehabed and he did well, he even won his 4th world championship without his ACL. But, we had these talks, and he knew that even though he was able to perform at the top level, he knew that the leg was not like the other. He decided 6 weeks ago to have it repaired because we discussed many times the above kinds of long term possibilities. I placed what facts and experiences I have had over 20+ years, the research that is presently out there, and let him decide. He decided that "hope" only goes so far, that he knows he will not be exceptionally as strong on the long term rehab to the degree it was initially performed, and he did not want to risk subsequent internal joint damage that might ensue.
Yes, not everyone needs ACL surgery, especially those who are not highly active or sporting, or the aging/elderly, but we can make a case that just rehabing and dismissing repair is also going to miss some vital points. We are not saying that we are pro-ACL surgery, but it does have a place.
Just educate your client honestly, then let them decide the direction, and do good work.

If anyone wishes to debate here, lets do it. But come at us with 5-10 year post-rehab no-ACL surgery cases with MRI's showing no intra-articular cost. (Good luck with that.) But if you find such unicorns, we definitely want to see them so we can share it and adjust our stance more softly. We want to be as smart and accurate on our rants as possible, it is important.

**corrected/ammended 10:57central time

photo credit: thank you !

Orthop J Sports Med. 2018 Dec 11;6(12):2325967118813917.
Relationship Between Time to ACL Reconstruction and Presence of Adverse Changes in the Knee at the Time of Reconstruction.
Sommerfeldt M1,2, Goodine T2, Raheem A3, Whittaker J1,4, Otto D

The loads are going to go somewhere.

You cannot change one thing, and not expect the other parts to change, have to adapt, and possibly complain at some point.
The loads are going to go somewhere.

Too much pronation means the arch may be reduced in height, but it also means that the first ray complex (the 1-2 metatarsals essentially) is dorsiflexing more than normal. This means they will not likely get to their adequate plantarflexion by the time the foot is ready to heel rise and toe off at supination. In other words, if you have pronated and dorsiflexed too long and too much, you will eat up the time you needed to plantarlfex and supinate.
This means that "Increased foot pronation may compromise ankle plantarflexion moment during the stance phase of gait, which may overload knee and hip."-Resende et al

If you cannot plantarflex the foot-ankle complex sufficiently, or in a timely manner, you should understand that you are carrying this fault forward while moving into heel rise during the forefoot rocker stance phase of gait, and you are doing it over a less stable, less rigid foot-ankle complex because it is still in relative pronation. This means you are placing higher propulsive loads over an unprepared ankle-foot complex. This means different/altered posterior compartment function, which can mean altered knee and hip function. Sagittal plane function, to name the most obvious, will have to create and endure compensatory loads. Sure, they may be fine for a time, but perhaps there will be a cost over time. Now, many might say, "if it is not a problem now, it is not a problem", let them build robustness on their chosen pattern; that can be very hopeful and shortsighted thinking in our opinion. Why not change things that are obviously aberrant and build robustness on a pattern and correction that is suspected to be more sound? This can be a cyclical argument that no one wins, EVER, we all see it all the time. After all, the arguments become silly after time, and we resist our own silly comments like "well, why change the oil in your car right now, nothing bad is happening at this time. Or, well that front right tire, though bald and nearly flat, is still rolling along so why bother changing it out?" But that stuff gets no one anywhere, other than pissed off, so we hold back. The debate never gets furthered along, because no one can see the future.

So, we will leave this rant with this thought, we cannot change one thing, and not expect the other parts to change, have to adapt. And adaptation can be both good OR bad. Or maybe we should say, good AND bad.
The loads are going to go somewhere. Lets leave it at that.

photo: credit

Gait Posture. 2018 Oct 23;68:130-135. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2018.10.025. [Epub ahead of print]
Effects of foot pronation on the lower limb sagittal plane biomechanics during gait.
Resende RA1, Pinheiro LSP2, Ocarino JM3.

Toe off: medial or lateral ? The hip matters, and do does forefoot loading.

Toe off.
How we off load can affect the tragectory of the knee sagittal hinging and it can affect the frontal, sagittal and rotational planes at the hip.

We can see here that a nice high gear medial foot toe off will draw the knee in a more sagittal direction (knee over foot, hip over knee) where as a lateral foot toe off, low gear off the lateral metatarsals could easily encourage the knee into the frontal plane, and the hip into the frontal and lateral rotational planes (knee outside the foot, hip outside the knee).

Lack of strength or awareness or endurance on a long run to endure the "more normal" medial toe off could lead to some knee tracking challenges and pathomechanical set up at the knee and hip, or elsewhere for that matter.
It is the clinicians job to find out if this is a factor, whether it is anatomic (torsion of long bones), weakness, lake of proprio/awareness or a combination of them.
Sometimes the smallest of details in how your client moves can get you the answers you need as to why your client may be in pain.

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A deeper dive 30 minute seminar on ankle rocker and ankle dorsiflexion, with Shawn & Ivo

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Gait is "all encompassing"

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Last week we did a presentation on some very classic, yet challenging, gait video case presentations. This slide was a big piece of our presentation. 
We discussed that there are volitional and non-volitional movements that accompany the adequate and appropriate postural system control.
If you want to hurt your brain, read this paper. 
But in a nutshell what this paper says is that we have a constant switching between steady state cortical neuron discharge and and non-steady state discharge. For example, when we are on a flat road, no obstacles ahead of us, nothing but boring open road, the system sort of runs on an automated program, making limb movements calculated off of a normal unchallenged baseline. But, if there are roots, rocks, curbs, bikes to dodge, puddles to hurdle etc, the volitional and postural systems must change their operation, and alter limb movements based off of those postural systems as we pay attention, and negotiate the obstacles. There is this delicate symphony occurring between automated posture, calculated posture, rhythmic limb movements. In other words, there are volitional, reactionary and anticipatory plans and adjustments occurring in the background at all times.
But, make no mistake, bad, faulty, inefficient motor patterns can become automated if injuries are left, if they are left partially rehabed, if we teach our clients faulty patterns by overloading them and forcing adaptive patterns to inappropriate load or fatigue. These modifications occur deep in the CNS, much in the premotor cortices, and take into account body schema (their correct or distorted perception of where they are, or their limbs are, in space). Build strength or endurance on an altered schema, one that might be present from an old injury, and one will build strength and endurance where one does not want them to go. Properly training clients, offering corrective exercise and the like is far deeper that just asking your client to load and get stronger, unless you wish to assume that their limitations and compensations are unimportant. This takes us right back to the asymmetry debate, which we know so many love to dive into. Asymmetry is the norm of course, just don't be the person creating more of it for your client.

"Adaptive gait control requires constant recalibration of walking pattern to navigate different terrains and environments. For example, motor cortical neurons do not exhibit altered discharge during steady-state locomotion, but altered discharge occurs when the experimental animal has to overcome obstacles. Loops from the motor cortical areas to the basal ganglia and the cerebellum may contribute to this purpose (ie, contribute to accurate and adaptive movement control that requires volition, cognition, attention, and prediction). In contrast, cortical processing seems unnecessary during the automatic execution of locomotion. Rather, high-level processing may occur in the systems between the basal ganglia, cerebellum, and brainstem in the absence of conscious awareness. - TAKAKUSAKI , Neurophysiology of Gait: From the Spinal Cord to the Frontal Lobe. Movement Disorders, Vol. 28, No. 11, 2013


Gait Pathomechanics: Walking in a Pencil Skirt.

Gait Pathomechanics: Walking in a Pencil Skirt.

We wrote this piece 5 years ago. We are updating it with a new disasterous video. Speed ahead to the 30 second mark to get to the good stuff. The Gait stuff. Read the blog post and then come back to the video and see what we talk about. There are some severe gait compromises in a skirt like this, let alone with the high heel shoes accompanying the gait.

According to wikipedia:
The slim, narrow shape of a pencil skirt can restrict the movement of the wearer so pencil skirts often have a slit at the back, or less commonly at the sides. Sometimes a pleat, which exposes less skin, is used instead of a slit. The classic shoes for wearing with a pencil skirt are high heels,[3] with sheer stockings or tights. The predecessor to the pencil skirt is the hobble skirt, a pre-WWI fad inspired by the Russian Ballet. This full-length skirt with a narrow hem seriously impeded walking. The French designer Christian Dior introduced the classic modern pencil skirt in the late 1940s. The pencil skirt feels different from looser skirts, and can take some adjustment by the wearer in terms of movement and posture in order to manage it successfully. Walking needs to be done in short strides; entering and leaving a car gracefully takes practice; and when sitting the legs are held close together which some find restrictive (though others like the feeling of their legs being “hugged” by the skirt). Activities such as climbing ladders and riding bicycles can be very difficult in a pencil skirt. The pencil skirt is warmer due to the reduced ventilation, and is less likely to be blown up by gusts of wind.

The Gait Guys dialogue on pencil skirts :
Tie a rope or theraband around your knees, you will suddenly experience the short cute steps that this gals does devoid of almost all hip flexion and hip extension, both serious gait cycle restrictions.
Without hip flexion-extension the entire timing of the swing phase is off. No longer can there be adequate use of the obliquity of the pelvis and thus abdominals or contralateral leg swing to initiate supination and toe off.
Step and stride lengths are dictated by the tightness of the roap, and in this case the diameter and give of the bottom of the skirt.  Not to mention the bloody complication added by the high heels !
- There is an unnatural oscillation of the pelvis due to the restrictions mentioned above.

The Pencil skirt:  Never again will you be able to wear one and not notice its gait impairments. Nor will men be able to just watch the ladies in the skirts for the appreciation of beauty and style. Men, you will have much more to study now, you just may hate us for your undying need to evaluate the biomechanics in skirt wearers forevermore ! Just be sure you do not abuse this new evaluation superpower as an excuse to your spouse to watch girls walk by.  We are not responsible for abuses of acquired superpowers.  And although we many have actually just become your new heros, just remember, with great powers come great responsibilities.

Shortly we will be selling a  new product, “pencil skirt training noose” on our online store.  $50 for the finest roap loops !

Shawn and Ivo, your new superheros of gait. Gait Fashonistas, perhaps we have a purpose and calling in the fashion industry !

Podcast 110: Step width, breasts, and diaphragm changes with movement.

We have a great show for you today. All of the above topics in the title, plus the immune system’s effect on fine tuning motor control as well as some long form dialogue on human base of support and stability during walking and running. All the links you need are below in the show notes. Thank you for spending some time with us in your ears.  :)

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D. other web based Gait Guys lectures:
Monthly lectures at : type in Dr. Waerlop or Dr. Allen, ”Biomechanics”

-Our Book: Pedographs and Gait Analysis and Clinical Case Studies
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Show Notes:

Flexible recording patch

How Neurons Lose Their Connections

The immune system and fine tuning motor control and movement.

Breast biomechanics

Elite runners

Diaphragm and Chronic Ankle Sprains