Can Running, Can Movement, Make us better Humans ?
This is a blog post we have placed as a year-end repeat for the last 2 years. It seemed to bring together many good points and thoughts. We hope you agree.
Today, we would like you all to watch this video and then more importantly read what we have paraphrased below. As we find ourselves here at the end of another year, it is normal to look back and see our path to growth but to look forward to plan for ways to further develop our growth. Many of you who read our blog are runners, but many of you are also extensions of running, which seems to include most sports. What we mean by that is many of you are coaches or trainers who develop those who run and play sports but many of you are also in the medical field helping people to move and to get out of pain or improve performance. And still yet we have discovered that some of you are in the fields of bodywork such as yoga, pilates, martial arts, dance and movement therapies. It is perhaps these fields that we at The Gait Guys are least experienced at (but are learning) and like many others we find ourselves drawn to that which we are unaware and wish to know more in the hope that it will expand and improve that which we do regularly. For many of you that is also likely the case. For example, since a number of you are runners we would bet to say that you have taken up yoga or pilates or cross training to improve your running and to reduce or manage injuries or limitations in your body. But why stop there ? So, here today, we will try to slowly bring you full circle into other fields of advanced movement. As you can see in this modern dance video above the grace, skill, endurance, strength, flexibility and awareness are amazing and beautiful. Wouldn’t you like to see them in a sporting event ? Wouldn’t you like to see them run ? Aren’t you at least curious ? Their movements are so effortless. Are yours in your chosen sport ? How would they be at soccer? How would they be at gymnastics ? Martial arts ? Do you know that some of the greatest martial artists were first dancers ? Did you know that Bruce Lee was the Cha Cha Dance Champion of Hong Kong ? He is only one of many. Dance, martial arts, gymnastics … all some of the most complex body movements that exist. And none of them simple, taking years to master, but most of which none of us can do. In the year to come we will continue to expand your horizons of these advanced movement practices as our horizons expand. From 3 years of personal study, we already have been experimenting with some of the advanced foot and body movements of dance, incorporating many aspects into our treatment and exercise regimens for our patients, runners and multi-sport athletes. Using things like the latin dance (primarily rumba and salsa) movements to strengthen the hips, core and feet and borrowing from the Cha Cha to improve foot side and cross over step speed and accuracy in some of our NCAA basketball and European soccer players. Even using some of the smooth footwork in the waltz and foxtrot to increase awareness of rear, mid and forefoot strike patterns and the development of rigid and mobile foot positions in our speed athletes. Why not use this knowledge? Many of our athletes do not even know their exercises homework are from basic dance principles, until we tell them at the end of a session. There is a reason why some of the best athletes in the NBA, NFL and other sports have turned to almost secret study of dance and martial arts because there is huge value in it. Look at any gymnast, martial artist or dancer. Look at their body, their posture, their grace. It is as if their bodies know something that ours do not. And so, The Gait Guys will dive even deeper into these professions to learn principles and bring them back to you. After all, everything we do is about movement. Movement is after all what keeps the brain alive.
Below are excerpts from a great article from Kimerer Lamothe, PhD. She wrote a wonderful article in Psychology Today (link is at the top) on her experience with McDougall’s book “Born to Run” and how she translated it into something more. Below you will find some exerpts from her work. But at some point, take the time to read the whole article. But do not cut yourself short now, you only have a little more reading below, take the next 2 minutes, it might change your life, or at least your next run.
We will leave you hear now for 2012 with our gratitude for this great growing brethren and community that is unfolding at The Gait Guys. We have great plans for 2013 so stay with us, grow with us, and continue to learn and improve your own body and those that you work with. Again, read Kimerer’s excerpts below, for now, and watch the amazing body demonstrations in the video above. It will be worth it.
Can Running Make us Better Humans ?….. Here are excerpts from the article by Kimerer LaMothe (these excerpts remain the exclusive property of Kimerer, if you wish you quote or link our article, you must quote and link her article, for it is her work alone.)
“The Tarahumara are not only Running People, they are also Dancing People. Like other people who practice endurance running, such as the Kalahari Kung, dancing occupies a central place in Tarahumara culture. Or at least, it has. The Tarahumara dance to pray, to celebrate life passages, to mark seasonal and religious events. They dance outside where Father God and Mother Moon can see, in patterns consisting of steps and shuffles, taps and hops, performed in a line or a circle with others. And they dance the night before a long running race, while the native corn beer, or tesguino flows.
While McDougall notes the irony of “partying” the night before a race, he doesn’t ask the question: might the dancing actually serve the running? Might it be that the Tarahumara dance in order to run—to ensure the success of their run—for themselves and for the community?
At the very least, the fact that the Tarahumara dance when and how they do is evidence that they live in a world where bodily movement matters. They believe that how they move their bodies matters to who they are and to how life happens. They have survived as a people by adapting their traditional method of endurance hunting (running animals to exhaustion) to the challenges of fleeing Spanish invaders, accessing inaccessible wilderness, and staying in touch with one another while scattered throughout its canyons. As McDougall notes, they have kept alive an ancient genetic human heritage: to love running is to love life, for running enables life.
Yet McDougall is also clear: even the Tarahumara are not born knowing how to run. Like all humans, they must learn. Even though human bodies are designed to flourish when subject to the stresses of long distance loping, we still need to learn how to coordinate our limbs to allow that growth to happen. We must learn to run with head up, carriage straight, and toes reaching for the ground. We must land softly and roll inwardly, before snapping our heels behind us. We must learn to glide—easy, light, smooth—uphill and down, breathing through it all. How do we learn?
How do we learn to run? We learn by paying attention to other people, and taking note of the movements they are making. We learn by cultivating a sensory awareness of our own movements, noting the pain and pleasure they produce, and finding ways to adjust. We learn by creating and becoming patterns of movement that release our energy boldly and efficiently across space. We learn, in a word, by dancing.
While dancing, people open up their sensory selves and play with movement possibilities. The rhythm marks a time and space of exploration. Moving with another heightens the energy available for it. Learning and repeating sequences of steps exercises a human’s most fundamental creativity, operating at a sensory level, that enables us to learn to make any movement in any realm of endeavor with precision and grace. Even the movements of love. Dancing, people affirm for themselves and with each other that movement matters.
In this sense, dancing before the night of a running race makes perfect sense. Moving in time with one another, stepping and stretching in proximity to one another, the Tarahumara would affirm what is true for them: they learn from one another how to run. They learn to run for one another. They run with one another. And when they race, they give each other the chance to learn how to be the best that they each can be, for the good of all.
It may be that the dancing is what gives the running its meaning, and makes it matter.
Yet the link with dance suggests another response as well. In order for running to emerge in human practice as something we are born to do, we need a culture that values movement—that is, we need a general appreciation that and how the bodily movements we make matter. It is an appreciation that our modern western culture lacks.
Those of us raised in the modern west grow up in human-built worlds. We wake up in static boxes, packed with still, stale air, largely impervious to wind and rain and light. We pride ourselves at being able to sit while others move food, fuel, clothing, and other goods for us. We train ourselves not to move, not to notice movement, and not to want to move. We are so good at recreating the movement patterns we perceive that we grow as stationary as the walls around us (or take drugs to help us).
Yet we are desperate for movement, and seek to calm our agitated senses by turning on the TV, checking email, or twisting the radio dial to get movement in a frame, on demand. It isn’t enough. Without the sensory stimulation provided by the experiences of moving with other people in the infinite motility of the natural world, we lose touch with the movement of our own bodily selves. We forget that we are born to dance and run and run and dance.
The movements that we make make us. We feel the results. Riddled with injury and illness, paralyzed by fears, and dizzy with exhaustion, our bodily selves call us to remember that where, how, and with whom we move matters. We need to remember that how we move our bodies matters to the thoughts we think, the feelings we feel, the futures we can imagine, and the relationships we can create with ourselves, one another, and the earth.
Without this consciousness, we won’t be able to appreciate what the Tarahumara know: that the dancing and the running go hand in hand as mutually enabling expressions of a worldview in which movement matters.”
Thanks for a great article Kimerer. (entire article here) http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-body-knows/201109/can-running-make-us-better-humans
Wishing a Happy New Year to you all, from our hearts……. Shawn and Ivo
The Gait Guys
Classic Shawn and Ivo. From our archives “Training Theories and Dialogues”. Soon available for download on our Payloadz Store page.
Enjoy some classic and timeless talk on the anatomy and physiology of the core!
all material copyright 2009. The Homunculus Group/ The Gait Guys. All rights reserved. Please ask to use our stuff!
So what do these dogs tell us?
These are pedographs of a 12 year old male who was brought into the office last week by his mother with knee pain, bilaterally, R > L and bilateral hip pain.
Clinical findings are a left tibial and femoral leg length deficiency of over 1 cm; bilateral internal tibial torsion in excess of 40 degrees; no femoral retro or ante torsion.
Gait evaluation revealed moderate rear and midfoot pronation. He leaned to the left during stance phase on the left. Arm swing had bilateral symmetry.
So, what can you tell us about internal tibial torsion?
The tibial torsion angle is measured by looking at the angle of the tibial plateau and the intermaleolar line (see middle picture above). The distal tibia begins in utero having an angle of 0 degrees in the infant an “untwists” to 22 degrees by adulthood (see far right). Tom Michaud does a great job talking about this in this book “Human Locomotion: The conservative Management of Gait Related Disorders”. When it moves less than the requisite amount (possibly due to biomechanical. genetic or environmental influences), you get internal tibial torsion. This means the foot is pointed inward when the knee is in the coronal plane (ie facing straight forward)
Too much pressure for the holidays? Take a look at that midsole of yours…
In the vein of last weeks post on plantar pressures, we find that midsoles DO DECREASE plantar pressures, especially across the midfoot (30% less pressure in this study), again dependent on foot type (In this study, low vs high arched individuals). They also INCREASE plantar contact area. Contact area can be useful for helping to influence biomechanics of different foot types (often more contact area = more force attenuation)
We also saw that they increase pressures LATERALLY (see our post here).
Bottom line? You need to look at foot type and remember that “shoes are medicine”. Watch what you are prescribing and think about what you are trying to accomplish. There is no substitute for good biomechanics.
We are The Gait Guys. Bringing you the best of gait, each week.
US Army-Baylor University Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy, Ft Sam Houston, TX 78234-6138, USA. Joseph.Molloy@amedd.army.milAbstract BACKGROUND:
Research addressing the effect of running shoe type on the low- or high-arched foot during gait is limited. We sought 1) to analyze mean plantar pressure and mean contact area differences between low- and high-arched feet across three test conditions, 2) to determine which regions of the foot (rearfoot, midfoot, and forefoot) contributed to potential differences in mean plantar pressure and mean contact area, and 3) to determine the association between the static arch height index and the dynamic modified arch index.METHODS:
Plantar pressure distributions for 75 participants (40 low arched and 35 high arched) were analyzed across three conditions (nonshod, motion control running shoes, and cushioning running shoes) during treadmill walking.RESULTS:
In the motion control and cushioning shoe conditions, mean plantar contact area increased in the midfoot (28% for low arched and 68% for high arched), whereas mean plantar pressure decreased by approximately 30% relative to the nonshod condition. There was moderate to good negative correlation between the arch height index and the modified arch index.CONCLUSIONS:
Cushioning and motion control running shoes tend to increase midfoot mean plantar contact area while decreasing mean plantar pressure across the low- or high-arched foot.
all material copyright 2012 The Gait Guys/ The Homunculus Group. Please ask before using our stuff or Santa will bring you athletes foot this holiday season.
Since the world did not end, you should probably think twice about those motion control shoes….
WE can all agree that there is a time and a place for motion control shoes. For people with chronic ankle sprains or lateral instability (ie, an incompetent lateral compartment; peroneus longus, brevis or tertius), it is neither the time, nor the place.
The lateral ankle is stabilized by both static (ligaments: above lower left) and dynamic (muscles above, lower right) elements. This is often called “the lateral stabilizing complex” The lateral ankle (ie the lateral malleolus) also projects more inferiorly than the medial. This means that when push comes to shove, the ankle is more likely to invert (or go medially) than evert (or go laterally). What protects it? The static component consist of three main ligaments (seen above) the posterior and anterior talofibular ligaments and the calcaneofibular ligaments. The dynamic components are the peroneii muscles. These muscles not only stabilize but also exert an eversion (brings the bottom of the foot to the outside) force on the ankle.
So what you say?
according to one study we found “Using an in-shoe plantar pressure system, chronic ankle instability subjects had greater plantar pressures and forces in the lateral foot compared to controls during jogging.”
Hmmm. Remember the midsole? (If not click here and here for a review) Motion control shoes are medially posted. That means they provide more support medially or have a tendency to tip the foot laterally. SO, motion control shoes shift forces laterally.
A person with chronic ankle instability has weakness of either the static, dynamic, or both components of the lateral stabilizing complex.
bottom line? make sure folks have a competent lateral stabilizing complex and if they don’t, you may want to think twice about using a motion control shoe.
Ivo and Shawn. Increasing your shoe geekiness coefficient on daily basis!
University of Virginia, 2270 Ivy Road, Box 800232, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA.Abstract BACKGROUND:
Previous plantar pressure research found increased loads and slower loading response on the lateral aspect of the foot during gait with chronic ankle instability compared to healthy controls. The studies had subjects walking barefoot over a pressure mat and results have not been confirmed with an in-shoe plantar pressure system. Our purpose was to report in-shoe plantar pressure measures for chronic ankle instability subjects compared to healthy controls.METHODS:
Forty-nine subjects volunteered (25 healthy controls, 24 chronic ankle instability) for this case-control study. Subjects jogged continuously on a treadmill at 2.68 m/s (6.0 mph) while three trials of ten consecutive steps were recorded. Peak pressure, time-to-peak pressure, pressure-time integral, maximum force, time-to-maximum force, and force-time integral were assessed in nine regions of the foot with the Pedar-x in-shoe plantar pressure system (Novel, Munich, Germany).RESULTS:
Chronic ankle instability subjects demonstrated a slower loading response in the lateral rearfoot indicated by a longer time-to-peak pressure (16.5% +/- 10.1, p = 0.001) and time-to-maximum force (16.8% +/- 11.3, p = 0.001) compared to controls (6.5% +/- 3.7 and 6.6% +/- 5.5, respectively). In the lateral midfoot, ankle instability subjects demonstrated significantly greater maximum force (318.8 N +/- 174.5, p = 0.008) and peak pressure (211.4 kPa +/- 57.7, p = 0.008) compared to controls (191.6 N +/- 74.5 and 161.3 kPa +/- 54.7). Additionally, ankle instability subjects demonstrated significantly higher force-time integral (44.1 N/s +/- 27.3, p = 0.005) and pressure-time integral (35.0 kPa/s +/- 12.0, p = 0.005) compared to controls (23.3 N/s +/- 10.9 and 24.5 kPa/s +/- 9.5). In the lateral forefoot, ankle instability subjects demonstrated significantly greater maximum force (239.9N +/- 81.2, p = 0.004), force-time integral (37.0 N/s +/- 14.9, p = 0.003), and time-to-peak pressure (51.1% +/- 10.9, p = 0.007) compared to controls (170.6 N +/- 49.3, 24.3 N/s +/- 7.2 and 43.8% +/- 4.3).CONCLUSION:
Using an in-shoe plantar pressure system, chronic ankle instability subjects had greater plantar pressures and forces in the lateral foot compared to controls during jogging.CLINICAL RELEVANCE:
These findings may have implications in the etiology and treatment of chronic ankle instability.
all material copyright 2012 The Homunculus Group/ The Gait Guys. Don’t rip off our stuff. PLEASE ASK 1st!
“I’ll plead the 1st … ." More foot geek stuff from The Gait Guys.
The 1st Ray that is!
The "1st ray” consists of the 1st metatarsal and the medial cunieform, essentially the long bones associated with the big toe. It is a functional unit we often refer to when discussing foot biomechanics.
You have heard us speak of the 1st ray needing to descend to form the medial tripod of the foot (tripod review: head of 1st metatarsal, head of 5th metetarsal, center of calcaneus). This action depends to some degree on the competency of the peroneus longus, which attaches from the upper lateral fibula and the associates interosseous membrane; curves around the lateral malleolus, crosses under the foot and attaches to the base of the 1st metatarsal and medial cunieform. The tibialis posterior is supportive to this action. This action is opposed (or modulated, for every Yin there is a Yang; it’s all about balance) is the tibialis anterior, which attaches to the top of the base of the 1st metatarsal and 1st cunieform.
As a result, 1st rays can be elevated or depressed. (here is a latin term to impress your friends with: Metatarsus Primus Elevatus, or elevation/dorsiflexion of the 1st ray/metatarsal). Clinically, we see more that are elevated, resulting in a faulty (collapsing) medial tripod of the foot. The important thing is isn’t necessarily its position, but rather its flexibility. The inflexible ones (isn’t it always?) are the problem children, because they result in altered (notice I didn’t say bad) biomechanics. The further we move from ideal, the closer we seem to move to some compensation pattern. The flexible ones are still a problem but we can control and dampen their rate of flexible collapse.
Generally speaking, a plantar flexed 1st ray that is rigid, has a tendency to throw your center of gravity (an often your knee) to the outside of the foot tripod (think of a rigid cavus foot) and a dorsiflexed to the inside of the foot tripod. Sure, there are LOTS of other factors, but we are talking in generalities here.
Look carefully at the images above and note the position of the 1st metatarsal heads. In the top set, the 1st is depressed (or plantarflexed). In the bottom set they are elevated (or dorsiflexed). Cool, eh?
NOTE: please refrain from using the term “dropped metatarsal”. Nothing gets dropped, it is correctly stated as plantarflexed (rigid or flexible).
Be on the look out for these on your clinical exam.
Ivo and Shawn. Bringing you one step closer to foot geekdom each day!
copyright 2012 The Homunculus Group/The Gait Guys. All rights reserved. If you rip off our stuff, you will be plagued with the curse of Toelio…..
Excessive Supination in a marathoner: Shoe Photos !
Simple visual case today.
Look at the right shoe, can you see how it is canted laterally? Can you see the inversion of the rear foot ? Without a foot in that shoe it means that “the last”, the heel counter and the EVA foam are all destroyed and deformed into this great runner’s compensation pattern.
They did not have pain however can you determine the problem here from the photos ? We hope your answer is no. We did a teleseminar last night on www.onlineCE.com on pedograph foot mappings and we talked long and hard about the possible limitations of determining foot problems from foot pressure mappings from things like pedographs and pedobarographs. Do you use foot scanners ? If so, user beware ! They gather vital and valuable information that you absolutely need but you need the critical clinical information from the client examination to bring the foot issue info full circle.
In this case there was a significant limitation in hip rotation. Which one ? Can you theorize ? If you said internal rotation you are right. There was a notable loss of internal right hip rotation in his marathoner. And it is represented in his shoe photo above. Someone who has a loss of internal hip rotation will often (but not always) have difficulties achieving the normal foot pronation required for clean foot mechanics, they will be stuck in a supination tendancy. If loss of internal rotation can mean loss of pronation then in this case ample external rotation meant excessive supination (or at the very least rear foot inversion). Hence the shoe presentation described at the beginning of this post. (Note: this is what we would refer to as a “Flexible” Rear foot Varus posturing).
So, is this the wrong shoe prescription for this runner ? No, the shoes were prescribed correctly. This is a biomechanical breakdown of a shoe because of a hip functional problem.
Solution: Dump the shoes for a new pair and quickly restore hip function. Keeping these shoes in the mix will promote the bad pattern. In this case, functional movement and muscle tested assessments revealed specific weakness of the right lower transverse abdominus, right internal abdominal oblique, right TFL, right vastus lateralis and coccygeal division of the g. max. Yes, all INTERNAL HIP ROTATORS or stabilizers or synergists of internal hip rotation. Immediate post treatment remedy revealed near full internal hip rotation and homework was prescribed to ramp those said muscles up further to support the new movement.
If he had remained in this shoe, the breakdown in the shoe would continue to promote the biomechanical deviations into the previously engrained faulty motor compensatory pattern.
Shoes, sometimes they are the problem, sometimes the solution and sometimes caught somewhere in between.
Need to get better at this stuff ? Just follow us daily here on The Gait Guys or consider adding the National Shoe Fit Program to your repertoire ! Email us if you are interested or need some help with your interesting cases !
Shawn and Ivo, The Gait Guys
If you do not split a gut laughing by the time the band plays there is something wrong with you ! Who says gait stuff isn’t entertaining !
Perhaps our best podcast to date ? You decide.
Topics: Treadmills, neuroreceptors, foot types, hip biomechanixcs, gait cycle
Neuroscience piece link:
1. from Eric on our FB page:
a. Had a 9yr old girl for a shoe fitting recently. She had a forefoot valgus, with a rearfoot that is neutral or slightly varus. Fairly high arch and rigid Midfoot for a child that age as well. usually a child’s foot is super flexible so this makes me wonder if it’s a compensation for a true FF varus. How do I tell if he has an anatomic FF valgus vs a compensated version?
b. I asked Blaise Dubois his opinion on Treadmill vs outdoor running and he mentioned that the literature indicates TM’s aren’t much different than outdoor. He cites (Wank 1998). To me, running feels completely different and I can’t run nearly as efficiently on a TM as outdoor. i know some people are the opposite, which i subscribe to specificity of training.
the question i have is what basis do you use for your opinion on different motor patterns? i agree with you, but the literature seems to disagree. this is a piece from cybex so of course it will be “pro-treadmill”, but they quote several studies that concur with Wank… http://media.cybexintl.com/cybexinstitute/research/Truth_on_Fit_Apr10.pdf
hope i’m not sending too many questions. i figure you can ignore them if you have too many from other listeners.
2. On the Hip Bio Pt 6 you mention ext rot leg to gain leg length. This one has been racking my brain. I could see how this could happen if the person supinates the foot at the same time, but is there some other external rotating mechanism occurring in the hip that would cause this lengthening? Thanks,Ryan
Hi Gait Guys,
I am a chiropractor in South Africa, and find gait, biomechanics and running fascinating…I’m hoping to become a true gait geek one day.Reading your blog has taught me so much, you guys seem to look at gait from every angle and don’t take things at face value.
I would like to find out about your Shoe Fit Certification Program. Can people from outside the USA complete the course? Would I be able to take the exam online? and would it give me any creditation in South Africa
Hope to hear from you soon.
3. I have been watching your video’s on you tube. I have a cavus foot in which I have had severe nerve pain, why is the high arch caused by nerve pain?
And would any of your exercises help with my nerve pain
4. Hi guys,
Found your youtube channel. Very interesting stuff. Have started reading up on the whole gait cycle. Its very interesting.
I have a quick question that I hope that you can help me with:
Are you aware of any correlation of hip impingement (cam/pincer) in terms of having an irregular gait cycle?
I am suffering from both CAM & PINCER impingement in my right hip. Had surgery in January, but they did not shave sufficiently off the bone, so going back to surgery soon.
I am therefore interested in seeing how surgery possible could help me with bettering my walk and strain on my lower back / leg / foot. And also in terms of looking into some theory on how to retrain myself in walking cycles.
The problem is, that this kind of rehab/research is not available here in Denmark. So would appreciate if you are aware of any research on the above, and would be able to point me in the direction of that.
Thank you – and keep those great videos coming. :-)
Shoe News You can Use…
The Heel Counter- the back of the upper
This is the back of the shoe that offers structure (just squeeze the back of a shoe. this is the rigid part you feel between your thumb and 1st finger, unless of course, you are using your teeth). This is often part of or integrated with the upper.
A strong, deep heel counter with medial and lateral support is important for motion control; It offers something for the calcaneus (heel bone) to bump up against when as it is everting (moving laterally) during pronation. Look at folks that have a bump on the outside of their heel (particularly the ladies(sorry, true); this is often called a “pump bump”). Now look at the inside of their shoes. See that worn away area on the inside of the back of the shoe? Now you know where that worn away area is coming from!
Lateral support especially for people who invert a great deal or when you’re going to place an orthotic in the shoe which inverts the foot a great deal. The lateral counter provides the foot (or orthotic) something to give resistance against. The lateral counter needs to extend at least to the base of the fifth metatarsal, otherwise it can affect the foot during propulsion. A deep heel pocket in the shoe helps to limit the motion of the calcaneus and will also allow space for an orthotic. The heel counter should also grip right above the calcaneus, hugging the Achilles tendon.
We know you want to know more. We can help. Take the National Shoe Fit Certification Program. If you like, sit for the exam and get certified as well. Email us for details firstname.lastname@example.org
The Gait Guys. We’re your heel counter!
all material copyright 2012 The Homunculus Group/ The Gait Guys. All rights reserved. If you want to use our stuff, please ask. If not, Captain Cunieform may pay you a visit…
Are old running shoes detrimental to your feet? A pedobarographic study.
STUDY BACKGROUND: “Footwear characteristics have been implicated in fatigue and foot pain. The recommended time for changing running shoes is every 500 miles. The aim of our study was to assess and compare plantar peak pressures and pressure time integrals in new and old running shoes.”
“Plantar pressure measurements in general were higher in NEW running shoes. This could be due to the lack of flexibility in new running shoes. The risk of injury to the foot and ankle would appear to be higher if running shoes are changed frequently. We recommend breaking into new running shoes slowly using them for mild physical activity.”
What do The Gait Guys say ? Did you read our post yesterday on this very topic ? Here is the link. Never let a pair of shoes get too old before breaking in a new pair. The old shoes can be just as much of a problem as the new shoes. Old shoes break down the foam into possible detrimental biomechanical patterns that can promote overstress to areas and create injury. A new shoe can be stiffer and thus change your biomechanics away from what is clean function for you.
So what is the solution ? If you read our blog post yesterday you know the answer (see #5 in yesterday’s blog post). LINK (Blog post December 5th, 2012).
Shawn and Ivo, The Gait Guys
Are old running shoes detrimental to your feet? A pedobarographic study.
Department of Orthopaedics, Glan Clwyd Hospital, Rhyl, UK. email@example.com.
The Great Myth of Rotating your Shoes : Here are the Actual Facts as we see them.
Everyone has heard the rules, rotate into new shoes about every 400-500 miles. We disagree, kind of, and we have talked about it on previous blog posts in the past and on our podcasts. Many shoe reps have agreed with the methods we employ for our runners.
The EVA foam often used in shoe manufacturing has a lifespan, or better put, a given number of compression and shear cycles. It can go through a rather fixed number of compression cycles before it loses its original structural properties, the older the foam gets the faster the degradation process and the more risks it poses for runners. It is known that EVA foam compressed into a focal vector or area over and over again becomes softer and more giving into that vector/area over time. Hence, if you have a compensation pattern or a known foot type (forefoot varus, forefoot valgus, rearfoot varus, rearfoot valgus or a combination of these 4) you will break down a certain region or zone of the shoe’s EVA foam. For example a forefoot varus foot type will often drive some heavy focal compression into the foam under the first metatarsal. However, if you combine it with a rear foot valgus it will drive shear forces and compression into the EVA foam along the entire medial aspect of the shoe (see the 2 pictures attached, you can see the evidence of excessive medial compression and medial shear in a foot that has severe rearfoot valgus and forefoot varus. This is a very poor shoe prescription for the foot type involved).
Here is what you need to do / know:
1- Know your athletes foot type so you can make more informed decisions.
2- Know the type of foam of the shoes you are recommending (ie. Altra uses A-Bound foam instead of EVA just as an example. A-Bound is an environmentally friendly energy-return compound is made of recycled materials. It reduces the impact of hard surfaces while still maintaining ground feedback. Traditional running shoe foam compresses 70-90% while A-Bound™ compresses 2-3x less so it won’t deform over time.). Cheap shoes use cheap materials. Altra goes the extra mile for foam quality and many others are beginning to follow suit. If you think you are getting a deal on shoes, know what “the deal” is, it just may be cheaper materials.
3- 500 miles is not the rule for everyone and every shoe. If you have a relatively neutral forefoot and you are a forefoot or midfoot strike runner you will get far more miles out of a shoe. If you depend on a stability shoe with dual densities of foam to slow your pronation and control your medial foot because of a rearfoot valgus and/or forefoot varus know that the shoe’s foam will break down less uniformly because of foam interface junctions and whatnot. This is a science. Engineers call it “the mechanics of material deformation”. We wonder how many mechanical engineers shoe companies have on board in their R&D divisions ? We know for a fact that a few do not. There was a reason we snuck quietly into the mechanical engineering departments of our Alma Mater and sat quietly in the “Materials” classes. At the time our roommates just told us it was cool class, little did we know why it was so interesting to us, until now.
4- Here is what we recommend. Fit the foot type to the right shoe selection. If you are weak in this territory consider taking our intense “National Shoe Fit” program. Fit is everything. Make the wrong choice for your client and the shoes will break down quicker and into poor and risky patterns. Make the right choice and be their hero. If you are looking for a way to improve clientele happiness and store loyalty our Shoe Fit Program is the way. Just read the testimonials here on our blog. Some of the top stores in the Nation have quietly taken the National Shoe Fit Program from us, they have good reason to. They also have good reason to keep it quiet, to get the edge on the competition.
You can email us to get this information and the e-file program download. Why not certify your entire store staff ?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This program will teach you foot anatomy, functional anatomy, shoe anatomy, foot types and matching foot type to shoe type as well as many other aspects of gait and lower limb biomechanics.
* 5- Try this recommendation. At 250 miles buy a new shoe to accompany your shoe that already has 250 miles. Now you are rotating 2 shoes. From this 250 mile point moving forward, alternate the newer show with the older shoe. This way you are never in a shoe that is notably more deformed in a specific area of the EVA foam because of your compensations, limitations or foot type. Essentially you are always just a day away from a newer shoe that has less driving force into abnormally compressed EVA foam. The older the shoe gets the more it accelerates your foot and body into that deformation and hence why many injuries occur as their shoes get older. Continue to alternate shoes on every other run (new, old, new, old). Once you hit 400-500 miles on the old shoes, ditch them and get a new pair again to restore the cycle once again. In fact, to be specific here is what we recommend. Monday, old shoe. Tuesday, new shoe. Wednesday do not run, rather, rest or cross train. Thursday go back to the older shoe. Friday new shoe and repeat. This way you are 4 days between runs in the older more deformed shoe. The one day off running in mid week gives tissues that were challenged by the “old shoe run” a bit more time to repair.
6- Dedicate your shoes to running only. Running gait is not the same as walking gait. Why would you want to break down the EVA foam at the rear foot during walking (because heel strike is normal in walking) when in running you are a mid-forefoot striker ? Keep walking shoes for walking, running shoes for running. Otherwise you are just asking for trouble.
Check out our National Shoe Fit program and certification process here as well as links to our other teaching DVD’s & e-downloads:
Shawn and Ivo. Helping you use your head (and shoe knowledge) better everyday.
The Gait Guys (have you checked out our RebelMouse page ? https://www.rebelmouse.com/TheGaitGuys/
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On Podcast 17 (click here for a link to our iTunes account) we mentioned and shared a brief snippet from a recent Nova Now (video.pbs.org) entitled “How the Brain Works”. In this podcast we discuss astrophysicist extraordinaire Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s thoughts on how vision can fool us because of 2 basic types of neuroreceptors, one that detects motion while the other suppresses the background. This occurs when we are tracking an object in something called smooth pursuit. In other words, the brain doesn’t pay attention to everything our eyes look at. The brain just cannot process all of the visual information accurately. This is a handicap as a human. It is what can make us good at some aspects of vision and less good at others, the question is “Can this be taught and refined ?" Great basketball players for example can see the the entire court and see plays developing. Wayne Gretzky was also reportedly great at this. This is what led him to say "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where the puck currently is." Watch any youth soccer game and you will see just the opposite. You will see a hoard of little arms and legs all huddled around the soccer ball, no play is developing rather they are all in the moment competing to get the soccer ball.
Why are we talking about this from this perspective ? Well there have been continued developments in the government’s gait recognition software, something we refer to as "Gait Forensics”. Here are 2 links.
Computers will likely have the advantage of gathering all of the info on a persons gait. It will not get caught up on the face or the clothes, there will be no discrimination. The software will likely capture head carriage, arm swing, stride length, step length, cadence, postural characteristics and so much more. It will be more information than the human will likely be able to process because computers will not likely suppress any aspects of a persons gait like we mentioned in the opening paragraphs of this blog piece. To the computer, all parameters will have equal and top priority, at least in gathering information. Interpretation remains another matter. But we are most sure that in time that too will be ironed out.
Shawn and Ivo
Gait, Magic, Evolution, Foot Types, Stretching, Cases studies…… we have it all on today’s podcast.
“How does the brain work ?”
Nova Science Now
buy this NOVA program now ! Educate the world ! :
Other links for today’s show:
1. Hi Guys,
I was wondering if you could direct me to a podcast/video or elaborate on how a fast stretch can relax a hypertonic muscle in a practical setting. Can manual stretching techniques like MET be use by altering the technique with a short fast stretch or are you just referring to high velocity low amplitude manipulation? We are often taught to find the barrier apply contraction and then ‘gently’ go to the next barrier. Is this still a good way of activating the GTO’s?Also do you have any further discussion I can check out on GTO’s?
Thanks for your time, Adrian
2. Hello, GAIT Guys!
First I want to thank you for your phenomenal work!
I work alot with athletes and there are so many that have some sort of sole into their shoes. Problem was, pretty much everyone, didn’t get the answer to WHY they needed them. Just the normal “your foot pronates” and frankly, 1 out of 40 got better.
I was driven by the question WHY, searched around in Sweden, attending lectures, orthophaedic clinics etc, but I didn’t get the answers that I was looking for.
Started to look into it deeper for myself, when I found you guys!
Now I want to bring back that knowledge to Sweden, cause frankly.. WE NEED IT!
Can you tell me more about your certification? Is it possible for a Swe to attend and get the certification?
Dr. of Naprapathy from Sweden
3. Hello Drs. Waerlop and Allen. I need some clarification on gait biomechanics. Will using a more “minimalist” running shoe or a shoe with less RF to FF delta help peroneous longus to gain mechanical advantage? If someone has a forefoot varus would recommending a lower ramp shoe be appropriate to help “retrain” the tripod at stance phase?
4. Another blog question…ivo said in podcast #15 that most people have a forefoot abnormality (during section talking about flares). Any idea Why? Is it skewed toward one way or the other?
After looking at quite a few feet since becoming shoe fit certified, I’ve noticed quite a lot of variation. If I was pressed if say I’ve seem <10% FF valgus and maybe half of the rest each neutral and varus. Is that in the ballpark of what you guys see?
How about rear foot? I feel like I see a lot of rear foot varus but maybe my frame of reference is not accurate? If I was pressed, I’d say 70% varus, 29% neutral, 1% valgus. Does that seem off?
Thanks, Eric J
Shoe News You Can Use: The Shank
Look at the “skeleton” in the photo on the left. Now look at the black material above the white area of the midsole (above the outsole) on the right. This is the “shank” of the shoe. The shank is the stiff area of the shoe between the heel to the transverse tarsal joint. It should correspond to the medial longitudinal arch of the foot. It is designed (along with the midsole material: see post here), to provide additional torsional rigidity to the shoe and helps to limit the amount of pronation and motion at the subtalar and mid tarsal joints. It also acts as a “plate” between the outsole and ininsole to provide protection to the foot from rocks, sticks, broken glass, shrapnel and small animals : ).
Not all shoes have a shank, so it may not always be present. We usually dissect shoes sent to us so we can see what they are all about if the manufacturer or rep is unable to provide us with an “exploded” or sectioned model. Look for our take on the new SKORA soon, complete with a dissected version!
The Gait Guys. Making sure you know what you need to so you can make more educated decisions
all material copyright 2012 The Homunculus Group/ The Gait Guys. Please ask to use our stuff. If you don’t, you have to deal with Lee. You don’t want to deal with Lee….