Short answer: Yes
A recent study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine 2018, 46 (12): 3023-3031 investigated the running patterns of 72 injured runners and compared them to 36 healthy subjects. The goal of the study was to examine if injured runners had different gait patterns than those of injury-free runners.
What they found was interesting. The injured runners demonstrated the following (refer to image below to help illustrate gait phases):
- A greater contralateral pelvic drop (CPD): when one leg is in the swing phase, the entire body weight rests on the opposite leg. People who were injured had greater pelvic drop on the opposite leg. This could be a sign of muscle weakness in the hip.
- Forward lean at midstance: during the occurrence of instance (when both feet are touching the ground at nearly the same location) the body leaned forward. This could be a sign of weak abdominal muscles.
- Extended knee and dorsiflexed ankle at initial contact: during the initial contact the knee should be slightly bent, as this helps absorbs shock when the foot is making contact with the ground. An extended knee can help transfer the shock into the hip and knee joints causing pain and further injury. Increase dorsiflexion of the foot at the time of contact can cause an increase stress in the calf muscles, leading to a higher risk of muscle strain.
Given these findings, as a clinician it would be important to perform the following:
- Check bilateral gluteal muscles, particularly the glut medius for any signs of hypertonicity and activated trigger points
- Check the quadriceps for hypertonicity
- Check bilateral calf muscles to determine any signs of tenderness and hypertonicity
- Check weakness in the abdominal muscles
- Check the patient’s shoe for any usual wear patterns.
If you are an avid runner and would like a consultation regarding running injuries and prevention book a free consultation today 905-593-1605.