Strength in Conditioning for Monday, July 22, 2015
The following assessment will predict the likelihood that you will at some point experience a running injury or symptom. Most runners experience a variety of seemingly unrelated problems that are either chronic or come and go without a good explanation.
Different Names for the Same Problem?
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Patellar Tendinitis
- Shin Splints
- IT Band Syndrome
- Piriformis Syndrome
- Hip Tightness
- Low Back Pain
- Chronic Hamstring Tightness
The overlooked fact is that these problems often have the same underlying cause: a Foot-Knee-Hip imbalance.
Running involves a repeated weight transfer from one leg to the other that requires the foot, knee, and hip to maintain consistent alignment. During the single leg stance – if the arch or knee collapses or if the hips tilt to one side – there will be repetitive stress transmitted throughout the body that can cause any of the symptoms listed above.
I use the following assessment with all runners and anyone that is experiencing plantar fasciitis, IT Band syndrome, or knee pain. The Step-Down Assessment determines if the problem is at the feet, knees, or hips and predicts the likelihood that a running injury or symptom will occur.
When performing this assessment, concentrate on one area at a time (ankle, knee, hip). It is useful to have someone take a picture or video of you performing this assessment.
Stand on a slightly elevated surface with your feet under your hips. The knee of the stance leg will bend slightly as you reach the foot of the non-weight bearing leg down towards the ground. The foot of the reaching leg will point down hovering above the ground. It is best to perform this assessment barefoot to observe the position of the foot.
#1: Foot – The foot of the stance leg should be pointing straight forward. Note if the arch collapses in or rolls out during the assessment (pronation/supination).
#2: Knee – Note your ability to keep the knee of the stance leg directly over the foot as you step down. Note if the knee collapses in or out.
#3: Hip – Note your ability to keep your hips level, torso upright, and shoulders level as you reach the foot forward.
If you were unable to maintain a neutral arch, keep the knee inline with the foot, and maintain level hips throughout the full movement your foot-knee-hip alignment is off and running is likely to produce symptoms.
Corrective exercises for the foot should address intrinsic foot strength and improving ankle dorsiflexion range of motion (see the “Related Resources” section below for examples). The next FlexibilityRx blog will look at some exercises to improve knee stability for single leg exercises like running.
- Kevin Kula, “The Flexibility Coach” – Creator of FlexibilityRx™ – www.FlexibilityRx.com
10 Minute EMOM
10 Russian Kettle Bell Swings
10 Second Plank + 10 Second Rest
20 Second Plank + 20 Second Rest
30 Second Plank + 30 Second Rest
…. Up to 90 Seconds
100 Sit Ups