More on the Minimalist Debate

“Nearly a third (29%) of those who had tried minimalist running shoes reported they had experienced an injury or pain while using the shoes. The most common body part involved was the foot. Most (61%) of those reports involved a new injury or pain, 22% involved recurrences of old problems, and 18% were a combination of both old and new musculoskeletal problems.

More than two thirds (69%) of those who had tried minimally shod running said they were still using minimalist running shoes at the time of the survey, but nearly half of those who had stopped said they did so because of an injury or pain. The most common sites of pain or injury that caused survey participants to discontinue minimally shod running were the foot (56%) and the leg (44%).

While some runners who tried minimalist running shoes suffered some pain and discomfort, a greater percentage (54%) said they had pain that improved after making the switch. The anatomical area most often associated with improvement was the knee. The results were published in the August issue of PM&R.”

“In physics, angular momentum is the rotational analog of linear momentum. Like linear momentum it involves elements of mass and displacement. Unlike linear momentum it also involves elements of position and shape.  It is an important quantity in physics because it is a conserved quantity – the angular momentum of a system remains constant unless acted on by an external torque.” – wikipedia

The Gait Guys Podcast #101 launches later this week. Here is a tickler. On the podcast we delve a little into this article based on Angular Momentum. We are not physics guys, but we try to give this idea some critical thought. Chime in if you know more than us, we would love to hear your research backed thoughts.

“To most runners and coaches, running is a series of jumps, says Svein Otto Kanstad, a physicist and former competitive runner based in Volda, Norway. Gravity isn’t considered helpful, because its force is perpendicular to the direction a runner is moving. But this mindset neglects the concept of angular momentum, Kanstad says. Rather than thinking of running as a series of jumps – leaping off one foot and landing again on the other – runners should view their sport as a series of falls, aided by gravity, he says.” -Boyle

Read the Rebecca Boyle and Kanstad articles then watch the World Record race video by Michael Johnson. Study his leg turn over on the straight away as compared to his closest 2 competitors. Something is different. His steps are shorter, and it is difficult to determine, but is he doing what Kanstad is suggesting ?

video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FEh7hDpGp0

As Rebecca Boyle suggests,  “a runner’s hips rotate to bring each leg forward, he or she gains angular momentum. But most runners don’t make the best use of this. At the moment their leading leg hits the ground, the second leg is usually stretched out behind. In Kanstad’s revised gait, the second leg will already have rotated forward again before the leading leg hits the ground. By doing this, the runner’s centre of mass is tilted far forward allowing for more forward momentum, but the recovery leg is there to stop a fall.”

As Kanstad suggests in his research: “A theory is developed to determine the magnitude and nature of these effects of gravity, showing that more than 10% of the energy needed for running can be obtained from the field of gravity. Likewise, at a particular optimum velocity, walking may become entirely driven by gravity-induced angular momentum without any muscular effort.”

*Addendums (copied discussions from our Social media pages, we have smart people follow our work, so we wanted to include some dialogues here. We do not necessarily agree with everything said here, but in turn we also do not know everything. So, it is worthy of sharing in the hopes it takes us all further down the road to enlightenment).

reader: For some interesting applications and background on whole body angular momentum check out Anne Silverman’s work (Col School of Mines). There’s some interesting implications for how gait is regulated. Hope all is well. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22325978

Gait Guys:  Dear X, we very much appreciate your contributions and thoughts here. You seem to be a strong advocate of Romanov’s work. Can you furnish us with some of his research, we like to see the numbers and studies. His stuff has been around for awhile, certainly there has to be a few good papers you can lead us too to cut down our search to the good ones.

another reader:  After reading this (original article) I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry! It’s still amazing to me the confusion and mayhem surrounding running gait mechanics. With Nicholas Romanov already establishing the idea of gravitational torque as the propulsive force in running, how can Kanstad’s “new ” belief be taken seriously: vis-a-vis the Pose Method being conceptualized during the 1970’s. It truly makes me wonder whether scientists, researchers or coaches are actually trying to understand the truth or just emblazon their own reputations. From Bobby McGee to Daniel Lieberman, the misinterpretation of how we move in a gravitational environment is profound. The idea that we can generate anti-gravitational force via muscular effort to generate movement has an almost ludicrous logic to it. The idea of “just run barefoot” or “take smaller strides” or “land of the midfoot” trivializes the unique hierarchical interplay at the core of all human movement.

As a Movement Specialist, former student of Dr. Romanov’s and someone with a passion for the history of biomechanics, the fundamental flaw is obvious: science observed human gait and tried to conjecture based on the idea of the human body being a machine, rather than the body as another biological system on this planet. The ideas of everyone from Aristotle to daVinci, Galileo to the Weber brothers concluded that the the body must move in harmony with nature. Perhaps it was the rush of modern civilization via the Industrial Age which signified a change in the scientific method. Whatever the specific catalyst, the onslaught of data collection as evidence was born.

Even today, with all of the technology available, the idea of the foot being a fulcrum for the body to rotate over, is lost. What’s even further not understood is that the body, as a lever arm, must be aligned properly – if not, the fall forward is interrupted and all of the mistakes taught in classical stride mechanics (push-off, drive, etc.) become common error. It’s ironic that Kanstad mentions Michael Johnson (who I agree ran with proper “pose"technique), but who even today, would describe his own form differently. Which is why Usain Bolt, the who does pretty much everything correctly, is still a scientific conundrum.

 I can provide Pose-related research (though I suggest looking at the information in his Pose Triathlon book). But as you know, there are many contrary arguments and much conflicting information out there that is seemingly supported by data research as well. What I tried to elucidate is that it’s difficult to consistently quantify proper running technique. Research studies would have to be designed differently, the athletes trained for longer periods of time, acclimated to both normal ground and treadmill surfaces, freed from any musculoskeletal and psychological inhibitions to running better. With any athlete I work with, there is usually a period of (at least) a year’s time of training which must be performed: longer periods for endurance or injured athletes. Studies can try to isolate certain physical elements or characteristics of form: these clearly miss the perceptive and sensory aspects most critical to better form. Essentially what it always come down to is basic: where are you when your foot hits the ground, how long do you spend on the ground and what do you look like at terminal stance? If these concepts could be studied, then I’m all for it. Unfortunately, studies continue to observe and rely on the factorial by-products or results of error-filled running technique. In the end, who is deciding if the subjects are actually doing things well enough to warrant studying them?

another reader: As a PT I agree with Kanstad. While Michael Johnson appears to be fully upright, his chest and stomach are leaning forward. I’m willing to bet his COM is anterior to his trunk while he’s running. There’s probably some give and take though, just like anything else. Leaning too far forward will make you unsteady and you’ll end up slowing down to prevent a fall. Leaning too far backwards or even being vertically upright would, as Kanstad suggests, would prevent any angular momentum via gravity from assisting a runner, and would even work against them and push them backwards.

another reader: Sir Isaac Newton is turning over in his grave…and he is likely doing that by using zombie muscles to push down to overcome both the downward force of gravity and his inertia and then using multiple muscle to rotate about his transverse plane.  http://naturalrunningcenter.com/2013/07/30/posing-question-proper-running-form/

Reference sources:

Rebecca Boyle,  https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28246-physics-of-falling-says-professional-athletes-are-running-wrong/

http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/471/2181/20150287

Gravity-driven horizontal locomotion: theory and experimentSvein Otto Kanstad, Aulikki KononoffPublished 16 September 2015.DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2015.0287

Notice the differences in running (top) vs sprinting (bottom) activation patterns?

This picture (along with the MIchaud muscular firing pattern ones) are becoming some of my favorite ones to talk about. I just stare at them and look for differences and similarities. 

Check out that the abs do not seem to fire in running (in this study at least), but do in sprinting. Note also that most muscles fire longer (and we wil assume harder) during sprinting. Also check out the peroneals, which fire just as the foot touches down in sprinting, probably to make up for the instrinsics not firing, and assist in creating a rigid lever for push off. 

from: Mann et al 1986

Gait and Climbing: Part 1

Lucid Dreaming is the name of a rock in the Buttermilks of Bishop, California. This is no ordinary rock. It is a V15. Summiting this rock is basically only 3 moves off of 3 holds, from your fingertips. The remainder of the climb is sliced bread. If you can do the 3, you can get to the top. The problem is, only a handful of people in the world can do it. How hard can this be, after all you start sitting down.

Strength, stability, mobility, endurance, skill, experience, movement patterns … . it is all here, today, on The Gait Guys blog.

Author: Dr. Shawn Allen

There are things that other people can do in life that rattle your brain. These are tasks that these individuals make look fairly simple, but in actuality are nearly impossible to the average person.  The honest fact is that many of us could do many of these things to a degree if we would dedicate a portion of our day to building the engine to perform these tasks, but the truth is that many of us would rather sit down and be entertained than get up and struggle.

Here on The Gait Guys blog, bipedal and quadrupedal gait has been discussed for over 5 years. Discussions have gone deep into the strange quadrupedal gait of Uner Tan Syndrome and have delved into the critical neurology behind CPG’s (Central Pattern Generators) which are neural networks that produce rhythmic patterned outputs. We have gone on and on about arm swing and how they are coordinated with the legs and opposite limb in a strategic fashion during walking running gaits.

Today I will look briefly at the interconnected arm and leg function in a high functioning human arguably one of the best new hot shots in climbing, Alex Megos. This year the German, as seen in this video link today, managed to summit Lucid Dreaming, a V15 in the Buttermilks of Bishop, California. Hell, you can say that this is just a big boulder, but there are not many V15s in the world like this one. Only a few of the very best in the world have even tried this rock, and you can count even fewer who have reached the summit. So, what does V15 mean to you? “virtually impossible” just about sums it up. Watch the video, this V15 starts from a “sit-start”, many folks wouldn’t even get their butts off the ground to complete the first move, that is how hard this is.  Watch the video, if this does not cramp your brain, you perhaps you don’t have one.

Are there possible neurologic differences in climbers such as Megos as compared to other quadruped species?  Primarily, there is suspect of an existing shift in the central pattern generators because of the extraordinary demand on pseudo-quadrupedal gait of climbing because of the demand on the upper limbs and their motorneuron pools to mobilize the organism up the mountain. We know these quadrupedal circuits exist. In 2005 Shapiro and Raichien wrote “the present work showed that human QL(quadrupedal locomotion) may spontaneously occur in humans with an unimpaired brain, probably using the ancestral locomotor networks for the diagonal sequence preserved for about the last 400 million years.”

As we all know, the interlimb coordination in climbing and crawling biomechanics shares similar features to other quadrupeds, both primate and non-primate, because of similarities in our central pattern generators (CPG’s). New research has however determined that the spaciotemportal patterns of spinal cord activity that helps to mediate and coordinate arm and leg function both centrally, and on a cord mediated level, significantly differ between the quadruped and bipedal gaits. In correlation to climbers such as Megos however, we need to keep in mind that the quadrupedal demands of a climber (vertical) vastly differ in some respects to those of a non-vertical quadrupedal gait such as in primates, in those with Uner Tan Syndrome and during our “bear crawl” challenges in our gyms. This should be obvious to the observer in the difference in quadrupedal “push-pull” that a climber uses and the center-of-mass (COM) differences.  To be more specific, a climber must reduce fall risk by attempting to keep the COM within the 4 limbs while remaining close to the same surface plane as the hands and feet (mountain) while a primate,  human or Uner Tan person will choose  to “tent up” the pelvis and spine from the surface of contact which narrows the spreading of the 4 contact points. Naturally, this “tenting up” can be reduced, but the exercise becomes infinitely more difficult, to the point that most cannot quadrupedally ambulate more than a very short distance. I will discuss this concept in Part 2 of this series on climbing.  If you study childhood development and crawling patterns, you need to be familiar with UTS (search our blog, save yourself the time), the flaws in the neurology behind the "Bird Dog” rehab pattern, and crawling mechanics … and of course, study climbers.

Some research has determined is that in quadrupeds the lower limbs displayed reduced orientation yet increased ranges of kinematic coordination in alternative patterns such as diagonal and lateral coordination.  This was clearly different to the typical kinematics that are employed in upright bipedal locomotion. Furthermore, in skilled mountain climbers, these lateral and diagonal patterns are clearly more developed than in study controls largely due to repeated challenges and subsequent adaptive changes to these lateral and diagonal patterns.  What this seems to suggest is that there is a different demand and tax on the CPG’s and cord mediated neuromechanics moving from bipedal to quadrupedal locomotion. There seemed to be both advantages and disadvantages to both locomotion styles. Moving towards a more upright bipedal style of locomotion shows an increase in the lower spine (sacral motor pool) activity because of the increased and different demands on the musculature however at the potential cost to losing some of the skills and advantages of the lateral and diagonal quadrupedal skills.  Naturally, different CPG reorganization is necessary moving towards bipedalism because of these different weight bearing demands on the lower limbs but also due to the change from weight bearing upper limbs to more mobile upper limbs free to not only optimize the speed of bipedalism but also to enable the function of carrying objects during locomotion.

The take home seems to suggest that gait retraining is necessary as is the development of proper early crawling and progressive quadruped locomotor patterns. Both will tax different motor pools within the spine and thus different central pattern generators (CPG). A orchestration of both seems to possibly offer the highest rewards and thus not only should crawling be a part of rehab and training but so should forward, lateral and diagonal pattern quadrupedal movements, on varying inclines for optimal benefits.  Certainly I need to do more work on this topic, the research is out there, but correlating the quad and bipedal is limited. I will keep you posted. Be sure to read my 3 part series on Uner Tan Syndrome, here on The Gait Guys blog. Some of today’s blog is rehash of my older writings, naturally I am setting the stage for “Part 2″ of Climbing.

– Dr. Shawn Allen

 References:

Shapiro L. J., Raichien D. A. (2005). Lateral sequence walking in infant papio cynocephalus: implications for the evolution of diagonal sequence walking in primates. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol.126, 205–213 10.1002/ajpa.20049

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2011 Oct;21(5):688-99. Idiosyncratic control of the center of mass in expert climbers. Zampagni ML , Brigadoi SSchena FTosi PIvanenko YP

J Neurophysiol. 2012 Jan;107(1):114-25. Features of hand-foot crawling behavior in human adults. Maclellan MJ, Ivanenko YP, Cappellini G, Sylos Labini F, Lacquaniti F.

Podcast 95: Head tilt while squatting or running.

We have a strong show for you today. Ankle instability from a neurologic perspective, shoe wear, head tilt and the neurologic and functional complications… we also talk about Efferent Copy and motor learning.

A. Link to our server:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegaitguys/pod_95final.mp3

Direct Download:  http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/pod-95

-Other Gait Guys stuff
B. iTunes link:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-gait-guys-podcast/id559864138
C. Gait Guys online /download store (National Shoe Fit Certification & more !)
http://store.payloadz.com/results/results.aspx?m=80204
D. other web based Gait Guys lectures:
Monthly lectures at : www.onlinece.com type in Dr. Waerlop or Dr. Allen, ”Biomechanics”

-Our Book: Pedographs and Gait Analysis and Clinical Case Studies
Electronic copies available here:

-Amazon/Kindle:
http://www.amazon.com/Pedographs-Gait-Analysis-Clinical-Studies-ebook/dp/B00AC18M3E

-Barnes and Noble / Nook Reader:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pedographs-and-gait-analysis-ivo-waerlop-and-shawn-allen/1112754833?ean=9781466953895

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/pedographs-and-gait-analysis/id554516085?mt=11

-Hardcopy available from our publisher:
http://bookstore.trafford.com/Products/SKU-000155825/Pedographs-and-Gait-Analysis.aspx

Show notes:

Human exoskeletons: The Ekso
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/08/03/the-mechanical-exoskeleton-shaping-the-future-of-health-care.html

Ankle muscle strength influence on muscle activation during dynamic and static ankle training modalities
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02640414.2015.1072640?rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed&#.VcYWR-1VhBc

Chronic ankle instability:

http://tmblr.co/ZrRYjx1akudcm

http://tmblr.co/ZrRYjx1ah6ThV

http://thegaitguys.tumblr.com/post/68785250796/just-because-a-muscle-tests-weak-doesnt-mean-it
http://thegaitguys.tumblr.com/post/117109093439/last-week-we-ran-an-archived-piece-named-just

the future of footwear and orthotics ?
http://lermagazine.com/special-section/conference-coverage/the-future-of-footwear-and-orthoses-is-here-now-what

squats- head posture-gait vision-gravity
http://thegaitguys.tumblr.com/search/vision

Music: brain rhythm
http://www.kurzweilai.net/the-brains-got-rhythm

Podcast 71: Forefoot Varus, Big Toe Problems & Charlie Horses”

*Show sponsor: www.newbalancechicago.com

Lems Shoes.  www.lemsshoes.comMention GAIT15 at check out for a 15% discount through August 31st, 2014.

A. Link to our server: 

Direct Download: 

http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegaitguys/pod_72final.mp3

Permalink: http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/podcast-71

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. American College of Cardiology. Running out your healthy heart. How much exercise is too much ?

Running for 7 minutes a day cuts risk of death by 30%, study says
http://wgntv.com/2014/07/29/running-for-7-minutes-a-day-cuts-risk-of-death-by-30-study-says/
 
2. The history of “Charlie Horses”
 
3. A runner with strange shin bruises.  
from : Joy 

Hi, I’m a great follower of your blog – fascinating stuff! I was wondering if I could ask you a quick question as nobody I’ve spoken to has been able to help:

I’ve been getting bruises that appear on my shin during running. They don’t hurt, I’m just wary of ignoring what could be a warning sign. Have you ever come across this before? (It’s mainly the spot where I had a tibial stress fracture last year, but I also get a few other apparently spontaneous bruises on my lower legs.)

4. Is that a forefoot varus or are you just happy to see me ?
Functional vs Anatomic vs. Compensated forefoot varus foot postures. A loose discussion.
5. A reader’s pet peeve about shoe store “gait analysis”.
6. Thoughts on pronation and the like.
7. Case study:  First toe fusion and implications long and short term.
“I had a patient today with an MTP fusion of his great toe after adverse complications from a bunionectomy.  Do you have any recommendations for gait training when great toe dorsiflexion is no longer an option?  He is currently compensating by externally rotating his foot and overpronating.  I’m thinking through it and  I know he has to gain the motion elsewhere to help normalize his gait as much as possible, so possibly gaining ankle dorsiflexion and hip extension.  Just wondering if you have any tips to share or articles to point me to for further ideas.  Continuing my research now.  I’m a relatively new grad and this is my first patient I’m seeing with this fusion. Many thanks

Podcast 71: Forefoot Varus, Big Toe Problems & Charlie Horses”

*Show sponsor: www.newbalancechicago.com

Lems Shoes.  www.lemsshoes.comMention GAIT15 at check out for a 15% discount through August 31st, 2014.

A. Link to our server: 

Direct Download: 

http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegaitguys/pod_72final.mp3

Permalink: http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/podcast-71

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. American College of Cardiology. Running out your healthy heart. How much exercise is too much ?

Running for 7 minutes a day cuts risk of death by 30%, study says
http://wgntv.com/2014/07/29/running-for-7-minutes-a-day-cuts-risk-of-death-by-30-study-says/
 
2. The history of “Charlie Horses”
 
3. A runner with strange shin bruises.  
from : Joy 

Hi, I’m a great follower of your blog – fascinating stuff! I was wondering if I could ask you a quick question as nobody I’ve spoken to has been able to help:

I’ve been getting bruises that appear on my shin during running. They don’t hurt, I’m just wary of ignoring what could be a warning sign. Have you ever come across this before? (It’s mainly the spot where I had a tibial stress fracture last year, but I also get a few other apparently spontaneous bruises on my lower legs.)

4. Is that a forefoot varus or are you just happy to see me ?
Functional vs Anatomic vs. Compensated forefoot varus foot postures. A loose discussion.
5. A reader’s pet peeve about shoe store “gait analysis”.
6. Thoughts on pronation and the like.
7. Case study:  First toe fusion and implications long and short term.
“I had a patient today with an MTP fusion of his great toe after adverse complications from a bunionectomy.  Do you have any recommendations for gait training when great toe dorsiflexion is no longer an option?  He is currently compensating by externally rotating his foot and overpronating.  I’m thinking through it and  I know he has to gain the motion elsewhere to help normalize his gait as much as possible, so possibly gaining ankle dorsiflexion and hip extension.  Just wondering if you have any tips to share or articles to point me to for further ideas.  Continuing my research now.  I’m a relatively new grad and this is my first patient I’m seeing with this fusion. Many thanks