A test question from Dr. Allen, see how you do with this photo critical thinking.

When you walk on the beach you are on a slope. The leg closer to the water naturally drops down to a lower surface. 

Here is the game …  to keep the pelvis level on the horizon, one would have to:

a. shorten the water side leg

b. lengthen the water side leg

c. pronate the water side leg

d. supinate the water side leg

e. lengthen the beach side leg

f. shorten the beach side leg

g. pronate the beach side leg

h. supinate the beach side leg

i. externally rotate the water side leg

j. internally rotate the water side leg

k. externally rotate the beach side leg

l. internally rotate the beach side leg

m. flex the water side hip

n. extend the water side hip

o. flex the beach side hip

p. extend the beach side hip

******Ok, Stop scrolling right now !!!!!  

List all the letters that apply first.

You should have many letters.  *** And here is the kicker for bonus points, the letters can be unscrambled to spell the name of one of the most popular of the Beatles. Name that Beatle.

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don’t look, figure it out before you scroll down further. It is important you try to work through the question and its foundational principles.

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Answer: B, D, F , G, I ,L , N, O

* now, more importantly, make sure you think of these issues in all your clients with leg length discrepancies, both anatomic and function and when the pelvis is not level. This is the most important take away from today’s test question. If you got the answers correct, you have the knowledge to implement. If you did not get the answer correct, you need to hammer down the HOW and WHY of the answer before you start playing with people’s bodies putting in heel lifts (boooo), sole lifts, orthotics, postings etc. If you do not have the foundation to play by the rules, you should not be playing.

ok, we were messing with ya on the Beatles thing. Sorry.

Dr. Shawn Allen

Yes, you are looking INSIDE this toe. That IS a screw and metal plate in that toe. 

What kind of stuff finds its way into your office ? I get all kinds of things it seems, at least once a day something comes in that makes me scratch my head. 

This client just wanted my opinion and thoughts on their toe and their gait once they are ambulating again. They have had multiple surgeries to this poor foot. You can see multiple scars over multiple digits and metatarsals.  This is the 3rd surgery to the big toe, the last 2 have been attempts at correcting failed prior surgeries. This is obviously the last straw surgery, total fusion of the metatarsophalangeal joint.  What is interesting in this case is that this plate was taken out about 4 weeks ago, and the skin was stretched back over and the wound closed up (forgot to take update photo for you). I saw it yesterday, and I was amazed at how healed up the area was. They are months post op now, and they can load the toe heavily now, that is always amazing to me. The body’s healing ability is a miracle. Of course, if you have been with us here long enough you will know that my “concern button” immediately got pushed but the client was proactive and asked the question before my oral diarrhea of concerns started.

So, they wanted to know about their gait and what to watch out for.  Off the top of your head, without thinking, you should be able to rattle off the following:

  • impaired toe off
  • premature heel rise
  • watchful eye on achilles issues
  • impaired hip extension and gluteal function
  • impaired terminal ankle plantar flexion (because they cannot access the synergists FHL and FHB)
  • impaired terminal ankle dorsi flexion (because they cannot access the synergists EHL and EHB)
  • lateral toe off which will promote ankle and foot inversion, which will challenge the peronei
  • frontal plane hip-pelvis drift because of the lateral toe off and lack of glute function
  • possible low back pain/tightness because of the  frontal plane pelvis drift and from altered hip extension motor patterning (and glute impairment)
  • possible knee pain from tracking challenges because they cannot complete medial tripod loading and thus sufficient pronation to internally spin the limb to get the knee to sagittal loading
  • impaired arm swing, more notable contralaterally

There is more, but that is enough for now. You need to know total body mechanics, movement patterns, normal gait cycle events (you have to know normal to know abnormal) and more. You have to know what normal is to understand when you are looking at abnormal.

* So, dial this back to something more simple, a “stubbed toe”, a painful sesamoid, painful pronation or a turf toe or hallux limitus.  They will all have the same list of complications that need to be evaluated, considered and addressed. This list should convey the importance that if your client has low back pain, examining the big toe motion is critical. Also, if you are just looking at the foot and toe in these cases, pack your bags … .  you don’t belong here. If you are just adjusting feet and toes and playing with orthotics while the list above does not constantly file back and forth through your brain, again, pack all your bags, grab your cat and leave town (just kidding, try reading more and get to some seminars).

If you know the complicated things, then the simple things become … … . . simple.

Your local treadmill gait analysis guru should know all of this if they are going to recommend shoes and exercises. Shame on them if there is no physical exam however. The data roadmap from the gait analysis software print out is not going to get you even out of the driveway let alone down the street. The data is going to tell you what you are doing to compensate, not tell you what is wrong. You must know anatomy, biomechanics, neurology, orthopedics and how to apply them to get the recipe right, not just which shoe in a store will unload the medial tripod of the foot or which exercise will lengthen your stride on the left. 

… .  sorry for the rant, too much coffee this morning, obviously.

Shawn Allen, one of the gait guys

Pronating around internal hip rotation loss.

This is a remedial principle, but it is always nice to capture it on video like this. Watch this clients left foot. On initial impressions you might just say too much foot pronation, and you would be right. Some of you might say abductor-adductor twist of the foot. These are all correct. But, if we told you that this was a hip complaint client, and lack of internal hip rotation this foot action should be a simple 60Watt “light bulb moment” (translation: “epiphany”), certainly not a 100Watt moment (but for some it might be).  

This client cannot internally rotate through the hip adequately, so they have found the opposite end of the limb to internally rotate through.  They collapse through the arch/tripod, which essentially in the crudest of analogies “internally screws the limb” into the ground.  They are finding internal femur rotation through foot pronation.  Internal hip rotation is being achieved from a bottom up process if you will. Pronation through the foot complex is adduction, medial rotation and plantarflexion of the talus which will carry the tibia (and thus the femur) with it into internal rotation.  There is a problem in many clients who find that extra little bit of rotation at the hip via a foot/ankle cheat.  That problem is one of corruption of the pelvis antiphasic motion of the pelvis, they will most often dump the same hip laterally and thus drift into the frontal plane instead of achieving the antiphasic motion of the pelvis.  This will decouple the rotation of the torso in the opposite rotation of the pelvis, and thus begin the corruption of arm swing.  Want to take it another level deeper ? Ok, eat this for lunch……. asymmetrical thoracic rotation from side to side will set up. This will mean more work through scapulothoracic stabilization and cervical rotation on the side of the thoracic rotation deficit.  Still not deep enough ? Ok, evaluate their respiration symmetry.   Too many are doing respiratory work before hip rotation is clean and symmetrical, especially during gait that necessitates 1000′s of engraining steps a day.  If the hips are not clean, gait is not clean, and that means repetitive arm swing-thoracic-respiratory mechanics are not clean.

If you want to truly fix someones rooted problems, you have to be willing and able to go down the rabbit hole. 

Shawn Allen, one of the gait guys

The Great toe’s effect on external hip rotation.

We have a simple video for you today. 

When we assess our clients for gait and locomotion we do a quick screen of all the big player joints, from the toes at least up into the thoracic spine to start. Loss of mobility/range of motion means probable functional impairment. 

In this video we display the effects of the Windlass Mechanism of the great toe. A windlass mechanism according to Wikipedia is:

a type of winch used especially on ships to hoist anchors and haul on mooring lines and, especially formerly, to lower buckets into and hoist them up from wells.

In this case, dorsiflexing the big toe spools the plantarfascia and flexor hallucis longus and brevis around the metatarsophalangeal joint (1st. MTPJ), thus pulling the heel towards the forefoot thus raising the arch. When the arch raises, the talus moves cephalad (upwards) and because of the supinatory movement orientation, it spins the tibial externally which in turn spins the femur externally. This is what you see in this video, note the blue dots being carried laterally with the limb external rotation.

The point here today, if you have loss of external hip rotation, it could be crying for you to evaluate the range of motion of the 1st MTP joint , it could be crying for you to evaluate the skill of toe extension, strength or endurance or all of the above. Impairment of the 1st MTP has great inroads into ineffective locomotion. You must have decent range of motion to effectively supinate, to effectively toe off, to externally rotate the limb, to effectively acquire hip extension to maximize gluteal use.  Thus, one could easily say that impaired hallux/great toe extension (skill, ability, endurance, strength) can impair hip extension (and clean hip extension patterning) and result in possible terminal propulsive gait extension occurring through the lumbar spine instead of through the hip joint proper.

Think of the effects of two asymmetrical great toe extensions, comparing the great toe left to right. Asymmetry in the limbs, pelvis, hip extension and perhaps worse, the lumbar spine, is a virtual guarantee.  Compare hallux extension side to side, if you can achieve symmetry through skill, endurance and strength retraining, you must do it. If you have a hallux limitus, a bunion or anything that impairs the symmetry of great toe extension side to side, you have some interesting work to do. 

You have to know what you have in your client, and know what it means to their locomotion.  Seeing or recognizing what you have must translate into understanding and action. 

Play mental games with clinical entities.  In this case, if at terminal toe off you did not have full hallux extension like in this client, and thus you did not get that last little final external rotation spin in the limb at the hip … . . what could that do to your gait ? Go tape your toe and limit terminal extension (terminal dorsiflexion) and walk around, to feel it in yourself is to get first hand experience. 

Shawn Allen, one of the gait guys

Medial or lateral foot placement ?

Foot placement matters. We have repeatedly beaten this topic in our dialogues on “the cross over gait” for years now.
Lack of Stability often, if perhaps not always, limits mobility.
Mediolateral stability can be efficiently controlled through appropriate foot placement. This study hypothesized that humans control mediolateral foot placement through swing leg muscle activity, basing this control on the mechanical state of the contralateral stance leg. Thus, obviously, if thestance phase limb has sensory-motor deficiencies, which might be easily translated into “balance” or control issues in single leg stance evaluation, this will impact the swing leg and thus subsequent foot placement.
In this study, “During Unperturbed walking, greater swing-phase gluteus medius (GM) activity was associated with more lateral foot placement.”
“The Perturbed walking results indicated a causal relationship between stance leg mechanics and swing-phase GM activity. Perturbations that reduced the mediolateral CoM displacement from the stance foot caused reductions in swing-phase GM activity and more medial foot placement." 

The swing leg is taking cues from the stance leg mechanics. If stance phase has challenges, the swing limb will be forced to accommodate and adapt, and that means altered foot placement.  

Once again, remember, (broken record moment)……. "what you see is not your client’s problem, it is their strategy to get around/compensate for the problem”. Don’t you dare correct your client’s foot placement without examining why they are doing what they are doing. Get to the root of the problem you are “seeing”.

-Dr. Shawn Allen

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24790168

J Neurophysiol. 2014 Jul 15;112(2):374-83. doi: 10.1152/jn.00138.2014. Epub 2014 Apr 30.A neuromechanical strategy for mediolateral foot placement in walking humans.Rankin BL1, Buffo SK1, Dean JC2.

Rearfoot to Hip Pathomechanical considerations.

In normal gait, the rearfoot strikes in slight inversion and then quickly moves through eversion in the frontal plane to help with the midfoot through forefoot pronation phases of gait. Some sources would refer this rearfoot eversion as the rearfoot pronatory phase, after all. pronation can occur at the rear, mid or forefoot. As with all pronation in all areas, when it occurs too fast, too soon or too much, it can be a problem and rearfoot eversion is no different.  If uncontrolled via muscles such as through tibialis posterior eccentric capabilities (Skill, endurance, strength) or from a structural presentation of Rearfoot Valgus pain can arise. 

From a scenario like in the video above, where a more rearfoot varus presentation is observed,  where the lateral to medial pronation progression is excessive and extreme in terms of speed, duration and magnitude this can also create too much lateral to medial foot, ankle and knee movement.  This will often accompany unchecked movements of internal spin through the hip. So one should see that these pronation and spin issues can occur and be controlled from the bottom or from the top, and hopefully adequately from both in a normal scenario.  It is when there is a biomechanical limitation or insufficiency somewhere in the chain that problems can arise. And remember, pain does not have to occur where the failure occurs, in fact it usually does not. So when you have knee pain from an apparent valgus posturing knee, make sure you look above and below that knee.  Also, keep in mind that as discussed last week in the blog post on ischiofemoral impingment syndrome (link), these spin scenarios can be quite frequently found with ipsilateral frontal plane lateral deviations (bumping of the hip-pelvis outside the vertical stacking of the foot-knee-hip stacking line). This stacking failure can also be the source of many of the issues discussed above, so be sure you are looking locally and globally. And remember, what you see is not the problem, it is their compensation around their deeper problem quite often.

If you have not read the blog post from last week on ischiofemoral impingement syndrome you might not know where the components of the cross over gait come in to play here nor how a rearfoot problem can present with a hip impingement scenario, so I can recommend that article one more time.

One last thing, just in case you think this stuff is easy to work through, remember that these rearfoot varus and valgus problems, and pronation rates. and limb spin rates are all highly variable when someone has varying degrees of femoral torsion, tibial torsion or talar torsion. Each case is different, and each will be unique in their presentation and in the uniqueness of the treatment recipe. I just thought I would throw that in to make your head spin a little in case it wasn’t already.

For example, a case where the rearfoot is a semi rigid varus, with tibial varum, and frontal plane lateral pelvic drift with components of cross over gait (ie. the video case above) will require a different treatment plan and strategy than the same rearfoot varus in a presentation of femoral torsion challenges and genu valgum. Same body parts, different orientations, different mechanics, different treatment recipe.  

So, you can fiddle with a dozen pair of shoes to find one that helps minimize your pains, you can go for massages and hope for the best, you can go and get activated over and over, you can try yet another new orthotic, you can go to a running clinic and try some form changes, throw in some yoga or pilates, compression wear, voodoo bands and gosh who knows what else. Sometimes they are the answer or stumble across it … or you can find someone who understands the pieces of the puzzle and how to piece a reasonable recipe together to bake the cake just right. We do not always get there, but we try.  

Want more ? Try our National Shoe Fit certification program for a starter or try our online teleseminars at www.onlinece.com (we did a one hour course on the RearFoot just the other night, and it was recorded over at onlineCE.com).

Dr. Shawn Allen,  of the gait guys

Reference:

Man Ther.  2014 Oct;19(5):379-85. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2013.10.003. Epub 2013 Oct 29.Clinical measures of hip and foot-ankle mechanics as predictors of rearfoot motion and posture.  Souza TR et al.

Health professionals are frequently interested in predicting rearfoot pronation during weight-bearing activities. Previous inconsistent results regarding the ability of clinical measures to predict rearfoot kinematics may have been influenced by the neglect of possible combined effects of alignment and mobility at the foot-ankle complex and by the disregard of possible influences of hip mobility on foot kinematics. The present study tested whether using a measure that combines frontal-plane bone alignment and mobility at the foot-ankle complex and a measure of hip internal rotation mobility predicts rearfoot kinematics, in walking and upright stance. Twenty-three healthy subjects underwent assessment of forefoot-shank angle (which combines varus bone alignments at the foot-ankle complex with inversion mobility at the midfoot joints), with a goniometer, and hip internal rotation mobility, with an inclinometer. Frontal-plane kinematics of the rearfoot was assessed with a three-dimensional system, during treadmill walking and upright stance. Multivariate linear regressions tested the predictive strength of these measures to inform about rearfoot kinematics. The measures significantly predicted (p ≤ 0.041) mean eversion-inversion position, during walking (r(2) = 0.40) and standing (r(2) = 0.31), and eversion peak in walking (r(2) = 0.27). Greater values of varus alignment at the foot-ankle complex combined with inversion mobility at the midfoot joints and greater hip internal rotation mobility are related to greater weight-bearing rearfoot eversion. Each measure (forefoot-shank angle and hip internal rotation mobility) alone and their combination partially predicted rearfoot kinematics. These measures may help detecting foot-ankle and hip mechanical variables possibly involved in an observed rearfoot motion or posture.

Podcast 74: Cross Fit: More on Squatting and Hip Torsions, Part 2

Lots of great hip, squatting and biomechanics in this weeks show !

*Show sponsor: www.newbalancechicago.com

A. Link to our server: 

http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegaitguys/pod_75.f_74.mp3

Direct Download: 

http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/podcast-74

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:

Diving deeper into crossfit’s squatting, lunges, leg press.

 Walking in sync makes enemies seem less scary

 
 

The Next Big Thing In Sports Data: Predicting (And Avoiding) Injuries

http://m.fastcompany.com/3034655/healthware/the-next-big-thing-in-sports-data-predicting-and-avoiding-injuries

“LER editor’s pick: Hip internal and external rotation are associated with shoulder mechanics in collegiate baseball pitchers. http://ow.ly/zULpO

Michael August 27 at 7:49pm I’m curious to hear some thoughts on this, too. I listened to the podcast and read the blog post by the Gait Guys. I’ve coached CrossFit since 2009 and have owned my own affiliate for the last three years and follow Starrett closely. The cue “knees out” originated in powerlifting and the purpose is to keep people from ending up compensating with a valgus knee position during a squat, which is the most common compensation. Also, CrossFit did a special “Offline Episode” with Starrett, Kilgore, Russel Berger (he represented CrossFit) and two other coaches in which the sole topic was the “knees out” cue. It’s very illuminating for this topic. One interesting thing is that CrossFit does not tell people who go through the level 1 to tell others as a law, knees out. It’s merely a cue to fix a common compensation.