Forefoot valgus: A fixed structural defect in which the plantar aspect of the forefoot is everted on the frontal plane relative to the plantar aspect of the rearfoot; the calcaneum is vertical, the mid tarsal joints are locked and fully pronated

Want to know more? Join us Wednesday evening: 5 PST, 6 MST, 7 CST, 8 EST for Biomechanics 309: Focus on the forefoot on onlinece.com.

McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Video case: The King’s Preference: Short and Sweet. A quick and easy case demonstrating the patellar tracking struggles with external tibial torsion.

Our favorite functional evaluation piece of equipment as well as our favorite piece of therapy equipment is the Total Gym.  Here we clearly demonstrate, to us and the client, in partial weight bearing load, the effects of external tibial torsion.  

Remember, the knee is sort of the King of all joints when it comes to the lower extremity.  The knee is a sagittal plane hinge, and so all it wants to do is hinge forward, freely without binding from deficits at the hip or knee. But we cannot ignore the simple fact that pre-pubescent kids the long bone derotation process is still undergoing, and in adults the process may have been corrupted or insufficient.  

In this case it should be obvious that the knee is sagittal and free to hinge when the foot is at a large foot progression angle.  This allows the knee to hinge cleanly. But when the foot is corrected to the sagittal plane, as you see in the second half of the video, the knee tracks inward and this can cause patellofemoral pain syndromes, swelling, challenges to the menisci (and possible eventual tears) and challenges to the ACL and other accessory restraints.  Additionally, this medial drift is a longer and more difficult challenge to the eccentric phase external rotators such as the gluteus maximius not to mention many of the other muscles and their optimal function.  

So, the next time you see a large foot progression angle in a client or in their walk (duck footed if you will) try to resist the natural urge to tell them to corrrect the foot angle. They are likely doing it to keep the King happy.  And furthermore, be careful on your coaching recommendations during squats, olympic lifts, lunges and running.  Just because you do not like the way the foot looks doesn’t mean you should antagonize the King of joints.  

External tibial torsion, its not something you want to see, but when you do see it, you have to know its degree, its effects at the knee, hip and foot as well as how it might impact hip extension, pelvic neutrality, foot strike, foot type, toe off and so many other aspects.

Whoever said gait analysis was easy was a liar. And if all they use is a video camera and fancy analysis software they have show up with only part of the team. And if they said they were an expert  in gait only a few years into practice, you had better also look for a jester’s hat somewhere hiding in the corner. After all, the King would want to know !

Shawn and Ivo, your court jesters for the last 3+ years.  Maybe we will get a promotion from the King someday soon !

Can you see the problem in this runner’s gait ?

You should be able see that they are heel impacting heavy on the outside of the rear foot, and that they are doing so far laterally, more than what is considered normal.  
This is a video of someone with a rear foot varus deformity.
These folks typically have a high arched foot, typically more rigid than flexible, and they are often paired with a forefoot valgus.  
Q: Do you think it might be important as a shoe fitter to know this foot type ?
A: Yes
Q.Should they be put in a shoe with a soft lateral crash zone at the heel ? 
A: No, absolutely not. Why would you want to keep this person deeper and more entrenched on the lateral heel/foot ?!
This foot type has a difficult time progressing off of the lateral foot. The lateral strike pattern and the tendency for the varus rear-foot (inverted)  keeps this person on the lateral aspect of the foot long into midstance.  This eats up time when they should be gradually progressing over to the medial forefoot so that they can get to an effective and efficient medial (big toe) toe off.  This gait type is typically apropulsive, they are not big speed demons and short bursts of acceleration are difficult for these folks much of the time. Combine this person with some torsional issues in  the tibia or femur and you have problems to deal with, including probably challenges for the glutes and patellar tracking dysfunction. What to see some hard, tight IT Bands ?These folks are often the poster child for it. Good luck foam rolling with these clients, they will hate you for recommending it !
They are typically poor pronators so they do not accommodate to uneven terrain well.  Because they are more on the outside of the foot, they may have a greater incidence or risk for inversion sprains. You may choose to add the exercise we presented on Monday (link  here) to help them as best as possible train some improved strength, awareness and motor patterns into their system. In some cases, but only when appropriate, a rear foot post can be used to help them progress more efficiently and safely. 
These foot types typically have dysfunction of the peronei (amongst other things). A weak peroneus longus can lead to a more dorsiflexed first metatarsal compromising the medial foot tripod stability and efficiency during propulsion while also risking compromise to the first metatarsaophalangeal (1st MTP) joint and thus hallux complications.  Additionally, a weak peroneus brevis can enable the rear foot to remain more varus. This muscle helps to invert the rearfoot and subtalar joints. This weakness can play out at terminal swing because the rear foot will not be brought into a more neutral posture prior to the moment of heel/foot strike (it will be left more varus) and then it can also impair mid-to-late midstance when it fires to help evert the lateral column of the foot helping to force the foot roll through to the big toe propulsive phase of terminal stance.  (* children who have these peroneal issues left unaddressed into skeletal maturity are more likely to have these rearfoot varus problems develop into anatomic fixed issues…… form follows function.)
You can see in the video the failed attempt to become propulsive. The client speeds over to the medial foot/big toe at the very last minute but it is largely too late. Sudden and all out pronation at the last minute is also fraught with biomechanical complications.
One must know their foot types. If you do not know what it is you are seeing, AND know how to confirm it on examination you will not get your client in the right shoe or give them the right homework.
* caveat: the mention of Monday’s exercise for this foot type for everyone with Rearfoot varus is not a treatment recommendation for everyone with the foot type. For some people this is the WRONG exercise or it might need modifications. Every case is different. The biomechanics all the way up need to be considered. Medicine is not a compartmentalized art or science. 
Shawn and Ivo, The Gait Guys

 

Can you see the problem in this runner’s gait ?

You should be able see that they are heel impacting heavy on the outside of the rear foot, and that they are doing so far laterally, more than what is considered normal.  
This is a video of someone with a rear foot varus deformity.
These folks typically have a high arched foot, typically more rigid than flexible, and they are often paired with a forefoot valgus.  
Q: Do you think it might be important as a shoe fitter to know this foot type ?
A: Yes
Q.Should they be put in a shoe with a soft lateral crash zone at the heel ? 
A: No, absolutely not. Why would you want to keep this person deeper and more entrenched on the lateral heel/foot ?!
This foot type has a difficult time progressing off of the lateral foot. The lateral strike pattern and the tendency for the varus rear-foot (inverted)  keeps this person on the lateral aspect of the foot long into midstance.  This eats up time when they should be gradually progressing over to the medial forefoot so that they can get to an effective and efficient medial (big toe) toe off.  This gait type is typically apropulsive, they are not big speed demons and short bursts of acceleration are difficult for these folks much of the time. Combine this person with some torsional issues in  the tibia or femur and you have problems to deal with, including probably challenges for the glutes and patellar tracking dysfunction. What to see some hard, tight IT Bands ?These folks are often the poster child for it. Good luck foam rolling with these clients, they will hate you for recommending it !
They are typically poor pronators so they do not accommodate to uneven terrain well.  Because they are more on the outside of the foot, they may have a greater incidence or risk for inversion sprains. You may choose to add the exercise we presented on Monday (link  here) to help them as best as possible train some improved strength, awareness and motor patterns into their system. In some cases, but only when appropriate, a rear foot post can be used to help them progress more efficiently and safely. 
These foot types typically have dysfunction of the peronei (amongst other things). A weak peroneus longus can lead to a more dorsiflexed first metatarsal compromising the medial foot tripod stability and efficiency during propulsion while also risking compromise to the first metatarsaophalangeal (1st MTP) joint and thus hallux complications.  Additionally, a weak peroneus brevis can enable the rear foot to remain more varus. This muscle helps to invert the rearfoot and subtalar joints. This weakness can play out at terminal swing because the rear foot will not be brought into a more neutral posture prior to the moment of heel/foot strike (it will be left more varus) and then it can also impair mid-to-late midstance when it fires to help evert the lateral column of the foot helping to force the foot roll through to the big toe propulsive phase of terminal stance.  (* children who have these peroneal issues left unaddressed into skeletal maturity are more likely to have these rearfoot varus problems develop into anatomic fixed issues…… form follows function.)
You can see in the video the failed attempt to become propulsive. The client speeds over to the medial foot/big toe at the very last minute but it is largely too late. Sudden and all out pronation at the last minute is also fraught with biomechanical complications.
One must know their foot types. If you do not know what it is you are seeing, AND know how to confirm it on examination you will not get your client in the right shoe or give them the right homework.
* caveat: the mention of Monday’s exercise for this foot type for everyone with Rearfoot varus is not a treatment recommendation for everyone with the foot type. For some people this is the WRONG exercise or it might need modifications. Every case is different. The biomechanics all the way up need to be considered. Medicine is not a compartmentalized art or science. 
Shawn and Ivo, The Gait Guys

 

How good is your tripod? Looks can be deceiving

You have heard us here on the blog talking about the foot tripod. For those of you who may not remember; click here and here for a refresher.

In the right foot (far left image) pedograph, you notice increased ink under the three points of the tripod (pass your mouse or click on the image to enlarge): The center of the calcaneus, the head of the 1st metatarsal and the head of the 5th metatarsal. Looks pretty good, correct ? The left one (center image) shows more weight on the lateral aspect of the foot.

Note now the picture of the feet that go with this tripod (far right). Pretty scary, huh ? Their left foot actually looks like a better tripod, especially the medial tripod.  So, what does that tell you? It tells you that from the pedograph print (remember the person is walking across the pedograph), they are able to compensate better on the right than on the left.  Remember what we always say, what you see is not what is wrong or what is actually truthfully going on.

So, what do you do?

consider exercises to increase the foot tripod (tripod standing, the Extensor hallucis brevis exercise,  lift spread reach ) and try and make the weight distribution equal from side to side.

The Gait Guys. Making sure you are firing on all your cylinders (or walking on all 3 points of the tripod). 

Want to know more? Consider taking the 3 part National Shoe Fit Program. Email us at thegaitguys@gmail.com for more details. 

Lateral Forefoot loading. Why do we see so many runners laterally strike on the forefoot ?

This was from a reader on our Facebook PAGE. It was a great observation and a great topic to continue on our dialogue here on the blog and on our last 2 podcasts. We discussed this on the last podcast but we feel that there needs to be further clarification. (FB link) and (Pod link)

I think Runblogger or someone like that showed video clips of footstrike at an elite (or pro) level race…virtually all the elites (or pros) were first contacting the ground on the outside of their forefoot and rolling to the inside.

The Gait Guys response:

For some people, their anatomy “works” or can tolerate the forefoot contact better than others. Remember, the natural walking gait foot progression is heel, lateral forefoot, medial forefoot. The natural running foot strike is under greater debate as you all know if you have been following the materials here on our blog, facebook, twitter and podcasts. Our last two podcasts (#19 and #20) have gone into this in greater depth.

What you likely are seeing (the more lateral forefoot loading pattern) for these elite pro runners in the video you spoke of is normal clean biomechanics (for them), but for many people, you are not seeing that (by the way, we saw plenty of nice squared off forefoot loading responses as well in other pics and videos); rather you are seeing a coping compensation or just simply poor biomechanics that will lead them to injury. The question is when does it become excessive for a person via poor running form choice, forefoot varus foot type or internal tibial torsion etc ? Perhaps a more important question is whether the person has a flexible mid foot and fore foot that will allow the drop of the first metatarsal (medial tripod) to the ground to complete the foot tripod without having to over pronate through the midfoot or forefoot ? That is the key ! 

And these are valid concerns. Many of people have this, the elites you saw obviously have tolerant anatomy and tolerant biomechanics, for them. For them, they orchestrate all of the parts, perfect or imperfect, into a symphony. This is not as common as many of us would wish. Sure a more (not 100%) squared off forefoot strike is more perfect but not many people have perfect anatomy, in fact we are taught in med school that anatomic variance is the norm. And besides, what is perfect for any given person ?  Perfect and clean biomechanics for a given person could arguably be debated as that which enables them to be most efficient without injury long term. Meaning that which may not look pristine but that which acts as such over the long term.

Classically, a brief, controlled, and non-excessive lateral strike may be  normal, and with a normal and progressive transition to the medial side of the foot however, many people have a rigidity-flexibility issue between the forefoot and rearfoot (ie. rigid or uncompensated forefoot varus for example) and these people often become patients as runners.  This was what we were referring to in podcast #20 which spurred the readers inquiry.  These folks cannot adequately, safely and efficiently drop the medial tripod down (1st metatarsal head) without having to so much of the movement more grossly through the midfoot and excessive pronation.  Many people try to fix this with shoes or orthotics but it is a bit more complicated than that, although on the surface it seems logical and simple.

Obviously those pros that were viewed do not have these issues, hence why they are pros, meaning optimal mechanics, rarely injured for long combined and with gifted cardio fitness. To be a pro you need all of the pieces, just wanting to run fast or simply training hard is often just not enough to become elite. The pros are a small percent of the population. Many others are not in that category and thus remain at risk injury or become statistics. We have had plenty of elite runners in our offices who had the cardio and the will but not the anatomy and biomechanics to stay out of our offices long term (injury free) to compound the necessary training.  Many of these folks were converted to triathletes and have been able to compete at world class levels because we found a way for them to dampen the impact miles on tortured running anatomy. 

Sometimes a person’s will is not enough, sometimes you have to have the complete package. And that means competent anatomy and a tolerance system to aberrant biomechanics.  In our opinion our dialogue here is critical in runners, unfortunately there are some big gaps from the medical and biomechanics side in  many of the dialogues on the internet.  But that is were we find our niche, and it is where we are best positioned to help the masses. 

Join us weekly on our podcasts,  here on our blog, or our other social media sites. Join the Gait Guys brethren !
Shawn and Ivo

The Gait Guys

all material copyright 2013 The Gait Guys/ The Homunculus Group. All rights reserved. Please ask before lifting our stuff!

Podcast #16: Monkeys, Newton Shoes & Gait Vision

Gait, running, Newton Shoes, Forefoot Strike, Gait Software, limb torsion problems, foot tripod and lots more !

LINK: http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/podcast-16-monkeys-newtons-gait-vision

Join us today for the following topic list and show note links:

Links to DVD’s & e-downloads: http://store.payloadz.com/results/results.asp?m=80204

1- scars of evolution:

Bigfoot blog post:    http://thegaitguys.tumblr.com/day/2011/11/05

Why gait must be taught slowly. Even running gait must be taught slowly.

2- email from a reader

wondering if you had any internal femoral torsion videos? I have been looking online and noticed most of the articles were on children with IFT. I have internal femoral rotation, a “winking patella” and I believe an externally rotated tibia? I am a runner and I am trying to find some more info on my awesome gait:) As you can imagine, I have had my fair share of injuries from running (hip, knee, and foot) and I have tried foam rolling but I am hoping you have some other recommendations

3- The Almighty Foot Tripod exercise – good for pronation of the foot

4- DISCLAIMER: 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

5- Blog post we liked recently:  Perception/vision and Gait analysis software.

http://thegaitguys.tumblr.com/search/vision

2 blog posts here…….review them before the pod

The Observation Effect:   http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/02/980227055013.htm

6- SHOE TALK:   Skora Shoes
7- Our dvd’s and efile downloads
Are all on payloadz. Link is in the show notes.
Link: http://store.payloadz.com/results/results.asp?m=80204