Every day at Fleet Feet we video analyze dozens of runners’ gait patterns. After 20 years of watching runners do their running thing, I’ve seen a few common problems that plague many, so take a guess at what I see as the number one reason why statistically, 50% of all runners get injured. Hint: it has nothing to do with your shoes.
Let me paint a picture for you: you’ve been fit with the proper shoes, you wear supportive inserts to improve alignment of the foot, you stretch like Gumby, you foam roll or do myofascial compression with Trigger Point Therapy kits until tears burst from the oh so pleasurable pain, and yet you are STILL plagued with IT Band pain. Why? You lack functional strength in the muscles surrounding your pelvis.
Running is a series of single legged stances. In biomechanics lingo, the pelvis must be strong enough to remain level and somewhat rigid in order to keep proper alignment of the leg. A weakness or muscle imbalance around the pelvis will create a series of compensatory movements of the leg that result in strain around other joints.
Here are a couple of signs that your core is weak: after a run you noticed you’ve scuffed the insides of your shoe, your ankle or the inside of your calf area, the lateral (outside) portion of one of your hips is tender or chronically sore, you see pictures of yourself running and notice that one hip is usually dipped down, you are plagued by persistent Iliotibial Band pain regardless of any traditional therapies you diligently apply to the affected area, or you are chronically affected by persistent knee pain. Notice in the photo, the hip dips down and the knee tracks toward the mid-line of the body. A picture is worth a thousand words.
The way to alleviate the problem is to maintain a year round functional core training geared specifically toward strengthening the Gluteus Medius, the primary abductor of the leg. Resistance band work, side planks with lateral leg raises, proper form lunges and plyometrics all play a roll in keeping runners injury free. In more severe cases, physical therapy may be necessary. In my opinion, this is the source of many cases of runner related injury I see once proper footwear is introduced.
If you would like to get more information on how to have a rock solid pelvis, stop by the store and speak to a FIT professional. Let us get you on the treadmill to see how we may be able to help.