GOOD GAIT MECHANICS WOULDN’T HURT ANYONE
But especially runners In Charlotte could learn to prevent locked ankle joints, knock-knees, weak hips, swinging arms, and lack of rotation in thorax that is replaced by hyper mobility in lumbar spine. I just spent a day at the beach, watching people and their gait mechanics. I noticed how only a few of them walk well.
DO YOU COMPENSATE?
I want to explain it in simple terms. Your arms and legs are supposed to swing at a certain sequence, with left to right symmetry and a balanced core. If you just get up and run without preparation you are probably compensating. This means one area of your body works “double shift” for another. There are many articles on how perfect gait should be, yet I believe it’s not entirely useful if you don’t know how your gait deviates from perfect. There are different variations of walking compensations shown in this YouTube video.
Running is basically jumping from one leg to another. That is why single leg stability is a prerequisite to gait. Try to stand with one leg up in front of the mirror, so that you can see yourself. Prevent holding your breath, biting lips or bending sideways. First balance on one leg, then on another. Are both sides equally stable? How long can you hold it? Can you lift your leg higher bending 90* at hip and knee. Are your toes curling or is your foot rocking? Are shoulders relaxed and even? At OLEA we do this test and rarely see good results. Even when things look good from the front, side view shows a tuck of pelvis or flared ribcage. All these compensations may cause injury.
WHY DO RUNNERS GET INJURED?
Plantar fasciitis, hill spurs, achilles tendonitis, runners knee and more are just medical names for injured body parts. They don’t mention a reason and without knowing a cause how can one know a solution? You see, for good gait mechanics all muscles need to be ready to participate. However sedentary lifestyle has made some muscles “lazy”. This is why a proper warm up should be done to activate your systems for movement. Most warm ups lack much needed extension exercises, full range of motion on ankles and hips, and rotations for mid back.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER AN INJURY?
If you depend on running for stress relief you won’t stop with first warning signs like tension. Just know that a brace is not a quick fix but a challenge for the body to find new pathways of movement. Even after healing your gait mechanics could remain compromised. Your mind-body remembering the pain creates a new way to run cautiously protecting your knee. You won’t even notice how you bear more weight on another leg, which down the road will cause pain on that side. We helped resolve many chronic pains in runners by digging up the injury history!
INVEST IN ASSESSMENT
Without a mirror and good body awareness runners don’t see their compensations until they hurt. Let me remind you that what hurts is not the area to stretch or massage. As Tom Meyers says don’t punish the victims for what the criminals are doing. Online recommendations are so-so:
Unfortunately physicians don’t have specific training in movement or gait mechanics, and RICE protocol has been debated as not optimal just like IT band stretches that health line authors recommend later in the article.
Every runner is different and has pain according to their compensation pattern, history and other activities that need to be puzzled into one efficient solution.
Our full body analysis includes a gait mechanics check that will help you become aware of your compensations.