Podcast 64: Baby Walker Risks, Achilles Asymmetry & Too Much Exercise

A. Link to our server:

Direct Download: http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegaitguys/pod_64final.mp3

Permalink: 

http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/podcast-64-baby-walker-risks-achilles-asymmetry-too-much-exercise 

B. iTunes link:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-gait-guys-podcast/id559864138

C. Gait Guys online /download store (National Shoe Fit Certification and more !) :

http://store.payloadz.com/results/results.aspx?m=80204

D. other web based Gait Guys lectures:

www.onlinece.com   type in Dr. Waerlop or Dr. Allen,  ”Biomechanics”

______________

Today’s Show notes:

1. The post-Oculus boom: Survios raises $4M for free-moving virtual reality

http://venturebeat.com/2014/05/19/the-post-oculus-boom-survios-raises-4m-round-for-free-moving-virtual-reality/

2. This treadmill lets you walk in any direction

http://www.engadget.com/2014/05/20/this-treadmill-lets-you-walk-in-any-direction/?ncid=rss_truncated

3. Dangers of baby walkers in the home:

http://consults.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/22/the-dangers-of-baby-walkers/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

NYTimes:  there are 3 days of neuromotor developmental delay for every day of their use.  Promote upright motor patterns and gait patterns before those neurologic windows are actually open and ready……..this goes back to expression of BDNF 
4.The Influence of Hip Strength on Lower Limb, Pelvis, and Trunk Kinematics and Coordination Patterns During Walking and Hopping in Healthy Women : Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy
5. Individuals with chronic ankle instability exhibit decreased postural sway while kicking in a single-leg stance
6. Asymmetry of Achilles tendon mechanical and morphological properties between both legs

Podcast 64: Baby Walker Risks, Achilles Asymmetry & Too Much Exercise

A. Link to our server:

Direct Download: http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegaitguys/pod_64final.mp3

Permalink: 

http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/podcast-64-baby-walker-risks-achilles-asymmetry-too-much-exercise 

B. iTunes link:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-gait-guys-podcast/id559864138

C. Gait Guys online /download store (National Shoe Fit Certification and more !) :

http://store.payloadz.com/results/results.aspx?m=80204

D. other web based Gait Guys lectures:

www.onlinece.com   type in Dr. Waerlop or Dr. Allen,  ”Biomechanics”

______________

Today’s Show notes:

1. The post-Oculus boom: Survios raises $4M for free-moving virtual reality

http://venturebeat.com/2014/05/19/the-post-oculus-boom-survios-raises-4m-round-for-free-moving-virtual-reality/

2. This treadmill lets you walk in any direction

http://www.engadget.com/2014/05/20/this-treadmill-lets-you-walk-in-any-direction/?ncid=rss_truncated

3. Dangers of baby walkers in the home:

http://consults.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/22/the-dangers-of-baby-walkers/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

NYTimes:  there are 3 days of neuromotor developmental delay for every day of their use.  Promote upright motor patterns and gait patterns before those neurologic windows are actually open and ready……..this goes back to expression of BDNF 
4.The Influence of Hip Strength on Lower Limb, Pelvis, and Trunk Kinematics and Coordination Patterns During Walking and Hopping in Healthy Women : Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy
5. Individuals with chronic ankle instability exhibit decreased postural sway while kicking in a single-leg stance
6. Asymmetry of Achilles tendon mechanical and morphological properties between both legs

Some times there is not an easy answer.

A patient came in with intermittent pain in his feet, bilateral and symmetrical of approximately 1 months duration.  It is bothering him in the arches and the ends of the toes. He can akin it to no singular precipitaIng event. The discomfort is sharp at times, and he can sometimes get cramping. He has been taking good care of his feet, washing his feet as of late. There are no alleviating factors; lots of activity can sometimes cause more pain but not consistently.  It seems to happen in all different types of shoes, so shod or unshod makes no difference. He is unable to reproduce the pain or discomfort.

The feet were normal in appearance. Arches were normal to slightly cavus. He had a mild, uncompensated forefoot varus. No global redness. Mild redness noted at medial and lateral nail beds of the great toe. He had a loss of long axis extension of the metatarsophalangeal arIculaIons and talonavicular arIculaIons bi-­‐lat. No tenderness to palpation of the dorsal or plantar surfaces of the feet are noted. No difference in neurological integrity with respect to sensaIon, motor strength or deep tendon reflex on either side. Nail bed filling was normal. Feet were cool
and moist to touch.  He did have weakness of the short extensors of the great toes, somewhat of the long extensors of the remainder of the digits. Ankle dorsiflexion is 10 degrees on each side.

Gait was tandem with a slight crossover. 

Hmm. Pretty boring, eh?

This is what we thought the differential should include:

1.   Early Gouty arthropathy.  This would be rare in a bilateral situation but possible.
2.   Athlete’s foot. This usually presents with more redness or this could be a variant.
3.   Lack of arch support during the day and his feet are fatiguing.
4.   Lumbar spinal canal stenosis; note that he has no change with squatting or sitting, so this is unlikely.

This is what we recommended:

 He is going to try either TinacIn or Lotrimin on his feet for 2 weeks, twice per day applicaIons, changing his socks between, making his feet wet and moist before application. Will switch to a boot that breathes batter and is more supporIve for work (he is a mason), to see if this works well. Foot strengthening exercises for the muscular deficiencies were prescribed. If this does not alleviate the discomfort, we will consider running labs and imaging looking at the possibility of gouty arthropathy and/or stenosis.

The Gait Guys. Showing that we don’t always have all the answers, but have a pretty good idea of how to get them.

The Naked Foot: The Soft Neurology behind Barefoot.

The Naked Foot: Thoughts for the Shoe Minimalist

This may be one of the very first articles we ever wrote for The Gait Guys. It must be 7-8 years old now, before the barefoot-minimalist craze ever started. It is a bit dated, but we think that it was time to revisit its contents. You will see that many of our early core principles have not changed and you can see the thought process of where the fads and trends were projected to go.  Wind your mind back a near decade, and read on !

_____________________

If you want to follow the fad craze these days, just look to companies like Vibram and Nike. Vibram is the company that has brought you the soles and treads of many of the shoes you have worn over the years and of course Nike are the people who first brought you the “running shoe” as we know it today. Nike first brought us the waffle bottom trainer, the cross trainer, air pockets, “shocks” and, the Air Jordan and now their barefoot minimalist series, the Nike Free. Now, we are sure not many of you have heard of the “Vibram Five Fingers” barefoot slip-on ‘shoe’ but virtually everyone who runs in some manner has seen and heard about the Nike Free. What initially stymied us when they first came out was the obvious question of “Why would the same people who sell us the shoes, and give us so many varieties and categories to choose from, now be advocating that we train barefoot, or close to it? ” Or are they ?

  • (Addendum:  this article was originally written long ago, at the start of this fad, the fad that has become a trend.  The article traveled fast around the internet and garnered us much attention including a gig with Vibram as consultants.  But that was then, this is now.  We, and the trend have come a long way, and so has the research.  Some supportive for the trend, some disagreements and plenty of controversy.  The remainder of this article has been unedited, hence its tense and outdated verbiage, shoe types and research.  But we thought it was time to review before moving ahead.)

The Nike version they are pushing, first the Nike Free 5 and now down to the Nike Free 3, has a light weight thin flexible sole and thin vamp top cover material whoís purpose is to merely hold the shoe onto the foot. The Vibram device, which is a fascinating yet simple slipper, is even more simplistic but has some brilliance built right into its heart. It is merely a rubber sock with compartments for each individual toe but that is part of its brilliance. So why would Nike and now Vibram go against their own creations and advocate that we begin walking and running barefoot, or at least become more “shoe-minimalists” after decades of building shoe and sole lines that previously were designed for various conditions, foot types and activities ? There appears to be sound moral reasoning if you delve into the research, but you have to look closely and you have to be careful you do not have one of those foot types that could lead to problems with this type of footwear (but that is a topic for another article to come soon, see Part II).

Barefoot theories are nothing new. In 1960 Abebe Bikila, perhaps the greatest barefoot runner of all time, won the first of his consecutive gold medals without shoes setting a world record of 2:15:17. Englandís Bruce Tulloh was setting overseas records into the 1960’s running unshod, skin to the ground. Today Ken Bob Saxton is one of the most visible barefoot marathoners, long beard and all, and is an advocate of the technique.

With the introduction of the Nike Free, the interest in barefoot running resurfaced at the turn of the century. An article by Michael Warburton, published as an internet paper on barefoot theories, seemed to spark some of the resurgence of the method of running. In his brilliant paper he had some interesting thoughts and pointed out some noteworthy facts. He indicated that research showed that an extra mass of 100 grams attached to the foot diminished the economy of running by one percent. Thus, two 10 ounce shoes (the weight of a lightweight training shoe) could compoundingly cripple you by more than five percent in efficiency. In tangible terms that could be more than six minutes tacked onto a world class marathoner, taking a world record time to a mere first group finishing time. So, it is a question of weight and time, or is there something more ?

To get started with some hard and simple research facts, current research has been conducted showing that plantar (bottom of the foot) sensory feedback plays a central role in safe and effective locomotion, that more shoe cushioning can lead to higher impact forces on the joints and higher risk of injury, that unshod (without shoes) lowers contact time versus shod running, that there are higher braking and pushing impulses in shod versus unshod running, that unshod running presents a reduction of impact peak force that would reduce the high mechanical stress that occurs during repetitive running and that the unshod foot induces a neural-mechanical adaptation which could enhance the storage and restitution of elastic energy at ankle extensor level. These are only some of the research findings but they are some of the more significant ones. These issues will not only support injury management benefits for the unshod runner but increase speed, force and power output.

Stepping backwards in time a little, in the caveman days things were different. The foot was unshod (without shoes) from the moment of the first step until one’s dying day, and thus the foot developed and looked different. The sole of the foot was thicker and callused due to the constant contact with rough and offending surfaces thus preventing skin penetration, the foot proper was more muscular and it may have been wider in the forefoot and the toes were likely slightly separated due to the demands of gripping which would obviously necessitate increase muscular strength and bulk to the foot intrinsic muscles. It was the constant input of uneven and offending surfaces such as rocks, twigs, mud, foliage and debris that stimulated the bottom of the foot, and thus the intrinsic muscles, sensing joint positions and relaying those variations to the brain for corresponding descending motor changes and adaptations to maintain protection and balance. The foot simply worked different, it worked better, it worked more like the engineering marvel that it truly is. The foot was uncovered and the surfaces we walked on were uneven and challenging. However, as time went on, man decided to mess with a good thing. He took a foot that was highly sensitive, a virtual sensory organ with a significant sensory and motor representation in the brain (only the hands and face have more brain representation as represented by the sensory and motor homunculus of the brain) and he not only covered it up with a slab of leather or rubber but he then flattened and then paved not only his world, but also his home, with black hard top, cement, wood or tile thus completing the total sensory information deprivation of the entire foot. Thus, not only did he take away critical adaptive skills from himself and generations to follow, but he began the deprivation of the brain of critical information from which the central nervous system would need to develop and continue to function effectively. It is not unlikely that the man of pre-shod time had a strong competent foot arch (perhaps somewhat flat to increase surface area contact for adaptation), but one that did not need orthotics, stability shoes or rigid shanks and inserts. In other words, the foot and its lower limb muscles were strong with exceptional skills and endurance. But in today’s day and time things are now different. We now affix a shoe to the child’s foot even before he can walk and then when he does, all propriosensory information necessary for the development of critical spinal and central nervous system reflexes is ensured to be virtually absent. Is it any wonder why there are so many people in chronic pain from postural disorders related to central core weakness and inhibition ? Is it any wonder why so many people seem to have flat incompetent feet and arches? Man has done it to himself, but thankfully man has proven that what he can do, he can undo. Thankfully we see modern medical research that has delved into this realm of thought and has uncovered the woes of our ways and to follow, companies like those mentioned earlier are imagining and developing devices that will allow us some protection from modern day offenses such as glass, plastics and metal and thus allow us the slow and gradual return to our healthier foot days, all fashion sense aside.

 Shawn and Ivo, The Gait Guys

Two fellas that were here at the beginning, and two fellas that will be here for the duration.  

The Naked Foot: The Soft Neurology behind Barefoot.

The Naked Foot: Thoughts for the Shoe Minimalist

This may be one of the very first articles we ever wrote for The Gait Guys. It must be 7-8 years old now, before the barefoot-minimalist craze ever started. It is a bit dated, but we think that it was time to revisit its contents. You will see that many of our early core principles have not changed and you can see the thought process of where the fads and trends were projected to go.  Wind your mind back a near decade, and read on !

_____________________

If you want to follow the fad craze these days, just look to companies like Vibram and Nike. Vibram is the company that has brought you the soles and treads of many of the shoes you have worn over the years and of course Nike are the people who first brought you the “running shoe” as we know it today. Nike first brought us the waffle bottom trainer, the cross trainer, air pockets, “shocks” and, the Air Jordan and now their barefoot minimalist series, the Nike Free. Now, we are sure not many of you have heard of the “Vibram Five Fingers” barefoot slip-on ‘shoe’ but virtually everyone who runs in some manner has seen and heard about the Nike Free. What initially stymied us when they first came out was the obvious question of “Why would the same people who sell us the shoes, and give us so many varieties and categories to choose from, now be advocating that we train barefoot, or close to it? ” Or are they ?

  • (Addendum:  this article was originally written long ago, at the start of this fad, the fad that has become a trend.  The article traveled fast around the internet and garnered us much attention including a gig with Vibram as consultants.  But that was then, this is now.  We, and the trend have come a long way, and so has the research.  Some supportive for the trend, some disagreements and plenty of controversy.  The remainder of this article has been unedited, hence its tense and outdated verbiage, shoe types and research.  But we thought it was time to review before moving ahead.)

The Nike version they are pushing, first the Nike Free 5 and now down to the Nike Free 3, has a light weight thin flexible sole and thin vamp top cover material whoís purpose is to merely hold the shoe onto the foot. The Vibram device, which is a fascinating yet simple slipper, is even more simplistic but has some brilliance built right into its heart. It is merely a rubber sock with compartments for each individual toe but that is part of its brilliance. So why would Nike and now Vibram go against their own creations and advocate that we begin walking and running barefoot, or at least become more “shoe-minimalists” after decades of building shoe and sole lines that previously were designed for various conditions, foot types and activities ? There appears to be sound moral reasoning if you delve into the research, but you have to look closely and you have to be careful you do not have one of those foot types that could lead to problems with this type of footwear (but that is a topic for another article to come soon, see Part II).

Barefoot theories are nothing new. In 1960 Abebe Bikila, perhaps the greatest barefoot runner of all time, won the first of his consecutive gold medals without shoes setting a world record of 2:15:17. Englandís Bruce Tulloh was setting overseas records into the 1960’s running unshod, skin to the ground. Today Ken Bob Saxton is one of the most visible barefoot marathoners, long beard and all, and is an advocate of the technique.

With the introduction of the Nike Free, the interest in barefoot running resurfaced at the turn of the century. An article by Michael Warburton, published as an internet paper on barefoot theories, seemed to spark some of the resurgence of the method of running. In his brilliant paper he had some interesting thoughts and pointed out some noteworthy facts. He indicated that research showed that an extra mass of 100 grams attached to the foot diminished the economy of running by one percent. Thus, two 10 ounce shoes (the weight of a lightweight training shoe) could compoundingly cripple you by more than five percent in efficiency. In tangible terms that could be more than six minutes tacked onto a world class marathoner, taking a world record time to a mere first group finishing time. So, it is a question of weight and time, or is there something more ?

To get started with some hard and simple research facts, current research has been conducted showing that plantar (bottom of the foot) sensory feedback plays a central role in safe and effective locomotion, that more shoe cushioning can lead to higher impact forces on the joints and higher risk of injury, that unshod (without shoes) lowers contact time versus shod running, that there are higher braking and pushing impulses in shod versus unshod running, that unshod running presents a reduction of impact peak force that would reduce the high mechanical stress that occurs during repetitive running and that the unshod foot induces a neural-mechanical adaptation which could enhance the storage and restitution of elastic energy at ankle extensor level. These are only some of the research findings but they are some of the more significant ones. These issues will not only support injury management benefits for the unshod runner but increase speed, force and power output.

Stepping backwards in time a little, in the caveman days things were different. The foot was unshod (without shoes) from the moment of the first step until one’s dying day, and thus the foot developed and looked different. The sole of the foot was thicker and callused due to the constant contact with rough and offending surfaces thus preventing skin penetration, the foot proper was more muscular and it may have been wider in the forefoot and the toes were likely slightly separated due to the demands of gripping which would obviously necessitate increase muscular strength and bulk to the foot intrinsic muscles. It was the constant input of uneven and offending surfaces such as rocks, twigs, mud, foliage and debris that stimulated the bottom of the foot, and thus the intrinsic muscles, sensing joint positions and relaying those variations to the brain for corresponding descending motor changes and adaptations to maintain protection and balance. The foot simply worked different, it worked better, it worked more like the engineering marvel that it truly is. The foot was uncovered and the surfaces we walked on were uneven and challenging. However, as time went on, man decided to mess with a good thing. He took a foot that was highly sensitive, a virtual sensory organ with a significant sensory and motor representation in the brain (only the hands and face have more brain representation as represented by the sensory and motor homunculus of the brain) and he not only covered it up with a slab of leather or rubber but he then flattened and then paved not only his world, but also his home, with black hard top, cement, wood or tile thus completing the total sensory information deprivation of the entire foot. Thus, not only did he take away critical adaptive skills from himself and generations to follow, but he began the deprivation of the brain of critical information from which the central nervous system would need to develop and continue to function effectively. It is not unlikely that the man of pre-shod time had a strong competent foot arch (perhaps somewhat flat to increase surface area contact for adaptation), but one that did not need orthotics, stability shoes or rigid shanks and inserts. In other words, the foot and its lower limb muscles were strong with exceptional skills and endurance. But in today’s day and time things are now different. We now affix a shoe to the child’s foot even before he can walk and then when he does, all propriosensory information necessary for the development of critical spinal and central nervous system reflexes is ensured to be virtually absent. Is it any wonder why there are so many people in chronic pain from postural disorders related to central core weakness and inhibition ? Is it any wonder why so many people seem to have flat incompetent feet and arches? Man has done it to himself, but thankfully man has proven that what he can do, he can undo. Thankfully we see modern medical research that has delved into this realm of thought and has uncovered the woes of our ways and to follow, companies like those mentioned earlier are imagining and developing devices that will allow us some protection from modern day offenses such as glass, plastics and metal and thus allow us the slow and gradual return to our healthier foot days, all fashion sense aside.

 Shawn and Ivo, The Gait Guys

Two fellas that were here at the beginning, and two fellas that will be here for the duration.  

Oh, it is just a simple ankle sprain. It will heal fine. (Not always ! Sometimes we do not know what we should fear, often because we do not even know it exists.)

When an ankle sprain is far more than an ankle sprain.

_________

Fracture of the Anterior Process of the Calcaneus

We have seen enough of these over our careers that we know they should be on the differential list when an ankle sprain smells fishy. This may be the most frequently missed fracture in the foot because it is not well known and the classic radiographic series often leaves this teeny tiny area poorly laid out on plain film radiographs.  This focal piece of bone, has a critical attachment to the cuboid and navicular so it is critical for stability of the rear-midfoot complex and obviously for mobility of the forefoot on the mid-foot. This Bifurcate ligament (see diagram above) if left unhealed or reattached to its calcaneal base can lead to anatomic instability and serious performance and loading problems. It can be a career ending injury if it is not caught early. This fracture accounts for ~15% of all calcaneal fractures and as we mentioned, it is misdiagnosed as a more severe ankle sprain. The mechanism is a typical inversion sprain mechanism, the most common of ankle sprains, and it can have all of the other typical presentations but with this fracture as a complicating parting gift of the injury. 

Do not miss this one ! When in doubt, refer it out. Don’t leave your client with an unresolving ankle sprain. If you are anxious, as for the imaging and a competent clinical exam. Tenderness over the calcaneocuboid joint that is localized approximately 1 cm inferior and 3 to 4 cm anterior to the lateral malleolus, just distal to the anterior talofibular ligament insertion is of high suspicion.  

This fracture can be serious and lead to prolonged disability and as we said it can be a career ending injury. So do not take that next ankle sprain too lightly. You or your client may pay for it for a lifetime.  

If you do not know it exists, you can’t make the call.  So after today, after reading this short blog post, you are now officially accountable !

Shawn and Ivo

Gait guys and clinical nerds

Saucony: Line Running and Crossing Over

We are big fans of the Saucony line of shoes. We have recommended them to our novice and serious runners for decades now. Currently one of our favorite shoes for our runners is the Saucony Mirage, a beautiful 4mm ramp shoe with no bells and whistles.  It is as close to a perfect zero drop that  you will find without going zero, in our opinion.  That is not to say there are not other great 4mm shoes out there, the Brooks Cadence and the New balance minimus are other beautiful 4mm’s out there.  The Mirage has never failed a single client of ours.  

This was a photo we screen captured from the Saucony Facebook page (we hope that for the sake of educating all runners and athletes that we can borrow this picture for this blog post, please contact us if you would like us to remove it). It is a good page, you should follow it as well.  This picture shows not only a nice shoe but something that we have been talking about forever.  The cross over; this runner is running in such a line that it could be argued that the feet are crossing the mid line. In this case, is the line queuing the runner to strike the line ? Careful of subconscious queues when you run, lines are like targets for the eyes and brain.  One thing we like to do with our runners is to use the line as training however, a form of behavioral modification.  When you do a track workout, use the line underneath you, but keep the feet on either side of the line so that you learn to create that little bit of limb /hip abduction that helps to facilitate the hip abductor muscles.  This will do several things, (and you can do a search here on our blog for all these things), it will reduce the reflexive tightening of the ITBand (pay attention all you chronic IT band foam rolling addicts !), it will facilitate less frontal plane pelvis sway, optimal stacking of the lower limb joints, cleaner patellofemoral tracking and help to reduce excessive pronation /internal limb spin effects.  

There is really nothing negative about correcting your cross over, IF it truly needs correcting.  That is the key question.  Some people may have anatomic reasons as to why the cross over is their norm, but you have to know  your anatomy, biomechanics and neuromechanics and bring them together into a competent clinical examination to know when the correction will lead to optimal gait and when it will drive suboptimal gait. Just because you see it and think it is bad, does not make it so.  

New to this cross over stuff ? Head over to the search box here on our blog and type in “cross over” or “cross over gait” and you will find dozens of articles and some great videos we have done to help you better grasp it. 

* you will also note that this runner is in an excessive lateral forefoot strike posturing.  This means that excessive and abrupt prontation will have to follow through the mid-forefoot in order to get the medial foot tripod down and engaged.  The question is however, is what you are seeing a product of the steep limb angle from the cross over, or does this runner have a forefoot varus (functional or anatomic, rigid or flexible)?  Are the peronei muscles weak, making pre-contact foot/ankle eversion less than optimal ? This is an important point, and your clinical examination will define that right away … . . if you know what these things are.  And if you don’t ? Well, you have found the right blog, one with a SEARCH box. Type in “forefoot varus”, if you want to open up the rabbit hole and climb down it … . . we dare ya ! 🙂