Podcast #11: Walking and Ozzy


Topics and Show Notes:

– Flips Flops, Walking Biomechanics, Minimalism Shoe Formula

Payloadz link for our DVD’s and efile downloads: http://store.payloadz.com/results/results.asp?m=80204

1- NEUROSCIENCE PIECE: Walking Statistics

2- Email from a Facebook Follower:
Hey guys, I was wondering if you had any links to articles about the effects of open back shoes on gait?  All I can seem to find are articles about flip flops, which I know have the similar effect, however some of my collegues don’t agree with that, so I was hoping to help inform them on the effects of the open back shoes/sandals on gait function.
 Thanks for your time,Tyler


We are not your doctors so anything you hear here should not be taken as medical advice. For that you need to visit YOUR doctors and ask them the questions. We have not examined you, we do not know you, we know very little about your medical status. So, do not hold us responsible for taking our advice when we have just told you not to !  Again, we are NOT your doctors !

4-  Updates and Sponsor talk:

A-  more lectures available  on www.onlineCE.com   Go there and look up our lectures

B- In January we will be taking on sponsors for our podcast.  We have had some interest already but we wanted to work out the quality control issues first. Early in means savings.

Contact us if you would like to be a sponsor……If we believe your product has value to this listener community we will give you a professional and personalized company or product plug and advertisment.  From our lips to our listeners ears ! 
We will basically expose your product to our international fan base.
The sponsors will help make our mission possible, defray costs and time to put out this podcast and blog. These things take is away from our practices a little.  Each week we will have 2 center-Stage sponsors . Your sponsorship can run as long as you want.

5-  Mail from an International Follower of our Blog:

Hi Dr’s,
Im here again. Just a quick question about functional LLD’s again. As you said before, most people who have a LLD are functional, but what causes such an apparent problem? What muscles are affected? Also, what exercises do you do to start to fix a functional LLD?

Thanks again for your reply and the attachment. It would be great if you could put it on a future podcast, I am keeping up with them. I’m a little sad as the first thing I check on facebook each day is what you guys have put on. The seminar over here is still a possibility, I was thinking about coming out to you guys first if that’s a possibility to learn direct? Have you thought about trying to do the fitness conventions? Experts like paul chek, Charles Poliquin, Gary Gray amongst others have been very successful and made a lot of money doing this. Gary Gray has done a huge dvd educational series and offers an internship out of his house, which he does once per year and is always full. I personally know 12 people from this country that have done it. Regarding your comment on facebook, I find the case studies more educational than anything else you put on there as it directly relates to my clients, but I have to keep watching them to fully appreciate what your saying. I can imagine most trainers just want quick fixes and new exercises they can give their clients as they are easy to understand. What are your sales of case studies on the onlice CEC compared to your performance downloads?  I can imagine not as many?   Kind Regards,   Luke

6- EMAIL FROM A Blog follower: 
Dear GaitGuys, on the video “Doing Squats, Lunges as well as Walking and Running using the Big Toe Ineffectively.”, I would like your opinion on the participation of the intrinsic (lumbricals) muscles, in stabilizing the proximal phalanx when we activate the FHL. I would consider it important, would be pleased to hear your opinion on it. Thanks, keep up the good work! Regards,  – Claudio

 field100 asked you:
Hi I wondered whether you could point me to the best exercises to increase strength and arch in the foot – I am flat footed. Also would you recommend the use of vivobarefoot shoes or the like to increase overall strength in the foot and ankle. thanks

 8- Blog post we liked recently
Minimalism: Is there a formula?
On one of our many forays into cyberspace, we ran across this easy to understand formula, from one of our friends Blaise Dubois. After we contacted him, he allowed us to reprint it here, for your enjoyment. Thank You Blaise!

Today, we propose a new formula so that you can rate your running shoes on a scale from 1 to 100 (100 being “extremely minimalist” -bare feet- and 1 “extremely maximalist”). The range of variation of your final rating will be more or less 5 points regardless of the comfort criteria, which is subjective. The only thing you need to do is to choose a language, then select the tab of your country at the bottom of the formula page, rate your shoes on the 6 criteria set out and there you go! Please note that we have used average values for criteria to which you don’t have the information. The multiple formats of the formula for every country are represented in accordance with their measuring system, currency and the average selling price of a running shoe for each of these countries.

As for health professionals and scientists, you will see that weighting factors have been applied to all criteria as a function of their importance, which is their effect on the body (biomechanics, tissue adaptation, etc.)
You can now rate your running shoes based upon The Running Clinic’s “TRC Rating” methodology!

12 – Email from a Blog Reader

hoblingoblin asked you:
I have a very strange gait problem that has caused me a great deal of problems in my everyday life. I get a painful, loud snap somewhere in my tarsal tunnel (Post tib, FDL, or something) as I try to control my foot descent from heel strike to midstance and also sometimes as I try to plantar flex at toe off. My ankle also feels kinda loose. I’ve seen multiple ankle specialists who don’t really have answers for me. Any thoughts?        


Understanding Neuroreceptors: Movement Concepts

For all you inquiring minds out there, here is a question on one of our YOUTUBE videos we though was worth making into a post.

Question: “Dr Waerlop says that GTO’s (golgi tendon organs) inhibit muscle tension and muscle spindle apparatuses (MSAs) increase muscle tension. But then he says to treat the attachments (GTOs) to increase the tension and the bellies (MSA’s) to decrease. Seems counterintuitive. What is the modality of tx, acupuncture? Massage?…..What is your modailty for treating these? And does that modality inhibit those neurosensors or stimulate them?”

Answer: GTO’s are high threshold receptors that actually modulate muscle activity through inhibition  (Ib afferents) and Spindles are lower threshold receptors receptors that modulate overall activity, particualrly length. Think of the GTO’s as responding to tension and the spindles as responding to muscle length. Spindles are more in the belly of the muscle and GTO’s at the musculo tendonous junctions. By treating the origin and insertion of the muscles, you can modulate both, whereas treating the belly of the muscles, seems to affect the spindles more.

By treating the origin and insertion of the muscles, you can modulate both, whereas treating the belly of the muscles, seems to affect the spindles more.

The modality can be manual or acupuncture stimulation of the origin/ insertion of the muscle that tests weak.We find that acupuncture seems to work bestbut manual methods work just fine as well. We believe we are normalizing function, rather than specifically inhibiting or exciting. Like Chinese medicine, we are balancing the Yin and the Yang, creating homeostasis.

The Gait Guys: Making it real. Making it understandable. Making it happen : )

Midfoot strike 5 year old running barefoot in grass.

So, heel strike you say ?  Have  a closer look.  This is a near perfect midfoot strike. What you cannot see is his torso progression. As long as the torso has enough forward lean heel strike cannot occur. Heel contact can occur, but not heel strike or impact.

We have talked about this on many occasions here on The Gait Guys Blog. No one else is talking about this fine line difference between heel strike and heel contact.  Everyone still seems hell bent on talking about forefoot strike. Forefoot strike in distance running is not normal, midfoot strike like you see here in this young child is natural and normal. This 5 year old was likely just asked to run barefoot, he was not likely coached. This is because midfoot strike is natural and normal.  As we said, as long as the torso is directly above or in front of the foot contact position there is no way that heel STRIKE can occur, rather heel CONTACT can only occur (unless you have hamstrings like cirque du soleil acrobats and do not mind going into a posterior tilted pelvis at contact). 

We tell our runners to:

  • lift the chest and lean
  • raise the toes and dorsiflex the ankle  (engage the anterior lower leg compartment) so that the arch is maximally prepared
  • a heel KISS of the ground is fine, just no impact
  • you do not need to forefoot strike to run naturally
  • * and, here is one more reason why we like a midfoot strike over a forefoot strike…. because a midfoot strike means that the body continues forward whereas a forefoot strike that then allows into a heel kiss/touchdown means that there is a posterior progression and eccentric lengthening of the posterior chain (hamstrings and calf muscles). This posterior directed motions is not exactly wise when forward progression is the goal of running !

This little fella is doing it right. Largely because he has not been in shoes long enough to corrupt the natural tissues and mechanisms (both the body parts and the natural neuromotor patterns).

* Addendum: after a really productive FAcebook dialogue with some readers we felt we needed to be more clear on some of our unspoken assumptions here.  If the heel hits first, it will be a STRIKE and not a KISS and the load will be high. The only way the heel can kiss the ground like we mention above is if the heel is absolutely contacting at the same time as the forefoot, one could say that there is a more dominant load on the mid-forefoot but the heel can still strike at this same time.  Striking clearly on the forefoot and then touching down the heel is satisfactory but there is still a retrograde movement which we believe is not as economical yet certainly better than heel impact/strike.  To get the perfect midfoot strike with barely a subtle heel CONTACT (not impact or strike) requires greater skill and more mastery as a runner.  And if you are wearing a shoe that is not minimalist or zero drop developing this skill will be a challenge and you will be misleading yourself.    This ammendment added 1 hour post blog post launch.

Shawn and Ivo…….. the Devil is in the Details. 

Researchers at England’s Northumbria University analyzed the gait and oxygen uptake of 18 recreational and elite runners performing a series running tasks both barefoot and shod.Dr. Michael Wilkinson, lead researcher and avid barefoot runner determined the following in their study:- a significant saving in energy from taking off running shoes- mechanical differences in the foot strike patterns (shod runners did more heel strike, unshod were more midfoot striking)- there were immediate foot strike changes in previously shod  runners who suddenly changed to unshod foot strike- there is less oxygen use during barefoot running compared to running shod at the same speed. Hence improved running economy.Characteristically, skilled unshod runners have a distinctive running gait utilizing:- mid-foot landing- shorter stride lengths- faster stride rates- reduced ground contact time- lower impact force and loading rates which dampens injury inducing forces- reduced oxygen utilization. The 6% improvement in economy was the same as that previously reported after a nine-week training program for shoe-wearing runners, who also enjoyed a 3% improvement in running performance.Click on the link above for the Science article.

Is Barefoot more economical ?

The Collective Goal of Natural Running. The Gait Guys Opinion.

Is this minimalist shoe trend a fad or is it truly a trend? What is the truth. (What are you not being told ?)

It appears that over the last few years this question is finding its own answer, for the most part.

We believe this minimalist direction has become entrenched enough now seeing the increased work and attention from most companies. We suspect that this is a firm trend which will not be going anywhere soon, although modifications will be likely. The research papers are convincing that there are benefits. However, we feel the industry is not spending enough time discussing the risks and concerns. And we are finding out that there are two issues here on that topic.

1. That discussing the demerits of a product is not likely good marketing.

2. One must know the underlying problems around the product, and more importantly the foot that is going into the product to understand a product’s drawbacks and risks.

None the less, there are issues not being talked about.

The fact of the matter is that some foot types do not, and never will, have any business being in such minimalistic shoes (ie. a rigid flat foot pes planovalgus or a rigid forefoot varus foot type are just a few examples). We remain concerned about the vague existing dialogue that these types of shoes will make everyone’s feet stronger. For some, they will, but many times strength education must be directed (There is a right way to do a squat, and a wrong way. There is a right strategy for toe off, and a wrong one.). With the wrong strategies employed, one can easily strengthen the incorrect motor patterns. Merely putting on a minimalistic shoe does not mean that the correct patterns and strategies for foot strengthening are being instituted. The shoes do not come with a magic potion guarantee. For those with challenged foot types (FF varus, Rothbart Foot, cavovarus foot, excessive tibial varum and/or tibial torsion etc) these folks will likely trend towards local foot problems or injuries further up the kinetic chain (hip, knee, low back etc). Understandably, these are heavy medical terms and conditions but they are very much out there in the running public and with little attention to the “buyer beware” warning when attempting to add a minimalist shoe to their mix. We know these issues exist, we see them daily in our clinic. As we see it, the problem could be that those providing the education often do not have enough clinical background to know what these issues are let alone recognize them or prescribe the right shoe for the combined presentation . So how can they then draw these issues to the surface in educating the public ? As we say in our lectures, “You first have to know what a platypus is in order to identify it. Otherwise it is just a hedge hog with flippers and a duck bill.” This is the elephant in the room that everyone is missing, everyone except us. We get the folks who are running in these minimalist devices and we get to see those who should never have been in them in the first place.

The good thing is that many companies are setting up educational programs to help folks drop down into “minimalism 2.0”. But still, to date, two problems exists in that arena.

1. no one is talking about the elephants in the room, those being those foot types that are too risky to be in the shoes and even more specifically, how to strengthen the foot. But who would admit to those risks, that would be stupid advertising.

2. those teaching the courses and those individuals that rep for the companies and act as an intermediary between the shoe company and the store either do not have the fundamental knowledge to educate the shoe stores about the merits and demerits of the products or they find there is too much of a knowledge gap between the parties so things are left unspoken. You have to be able to see the elephant in the room to address it.

It is at the heart of these issues that we feel we can make a difference. A few companies are finally listening to us on these topics. We are getting more calls, emails and inquiries as to how we can help them bring these issues to light and improve upon their products. Sadly, most companies are not doing the same and we feel they will be left behind. Companies are sharing exciting yet difficult challenges and many are struggling to catch up. Some of them are really on board and doing their homework and are coming to the table with really impressive dialogue. We are excited to work closely with these types of companies so that all runners can reap the safe and effective benefits of better products and more knowledgeable intermediaries. These companies, some big, some small, get a big thumbs up from us because the knowledge behind the product is spot on but more so because the product is excellent and does what it says it is supposed to do and goes beyond what the other products seem to be doing at this point. But there is always someone around the corner pushing the guys at the front.

Our one ‘stick in the mud’ issue is that still no one is talking about the elephants. And we believe its mostly because no one can see them. There is a main danger in doing too much barefoot running too soon. We made this clear initially on Vibram’s website when we wrote the part on how to progress out of your running shoe and down into Vibrams. For us it is, and has always been, about “keeping them honest” and putting out the facts. But don’t expect us not to make mistakes, nor to not own up to them. But do expect us to try to “right the wrongs”. From time to time we try to make the calls on the products that have questionable statements and applaud those that stick their neck out to do the right thing. We do not know everything, but we seem to know much more than many when it comes to the biomechanics of what is going in a product and in knowing when there is a giant tusked animal in the room.

If you put 10 different feet in a product, you will get 10 different biomechanical presentations from the shoe, and that is the difficult truth. So, logically, much of what is being missed is the education of that issues and of what is going on in the shoe, and that is our world. It is usually the problems that exist with the thing you are putting into all of these products, a person. A person who likely does not have the classic middle of the road, ‘Average Foot’ these shoes may have been designed and researched around.

To us, the most important thing is to raise the knowledge and awareness to the public, shoe companies, shoe stores and everyone else in between.

At this point, if this minimalist shoe trend is to survive we believe there must be enough companies that extol the virtues of honesty and education to the end user, the shoe company-shoe rep intermediaries, running form clinic presenters and educators. And, that means talking also about the elephants in the room. Our new, soon to launch, Shoe Fit Educational Program will help everyone get on the same page, and the same elephant.

Shawn Allen and Ivo Waerlop……… The Gait Guys