I feel like this is turning into an injury blog versus a running blog, but that’s my life right now. I can’t get back to running regularly until I get healthy. I remember before I had a blog and I was dealing with piriformis syndrome forever and ever, I used to stalk bloggers who were dealing with the same thing. So maybe someone else out there will benefit from these posts one day.
There have been a few things I have been working on in PT that I thought I would share. I like how there has been a focus on the whole body and running form versus just my foot. This is the first time that I have ever had someone stand next to me while I ran on a treadmill and give me information about my form and what to work on.
1. Foot stability – My injury to my posterior tibialis is due to overuse, so I need to teach other intrinsic foot muscles to help support the arch. When we started working on this, my PT explained that when you really turn on the foot muscles, you should also be turning on the hip abductors and core at the same time. All of these muscles should be working together to keep the foot in the correct position. This video shows how to do the short foot exercise.
2. Hip strength – I am continuing to strengthen my hips but I’ve moved on from clamshells and bridges to standing exercises. I’m doing lot of exercises with a band around my knees, plus incorporating the foot stability exercise at the same time. For example, I may stand with the band around my knees, focus on turning on my foot muscles, hips, and core, and then step forward with one foot keeping it in line with my hip, then step back to the start position. Sounds easy, but it’s alot to think about! It really trains everything to work together and encourages proper running form.
3. Cadence – A while back, I had worked on improving my cadence using an app that has a metronome. This was probably 3-4 years ago. Somehow I have gotten back to overstriding and my cadence has decreased. We are working on taking quick, short, light steps and my Garmin 620 actually measures cadence so I can check in on it as I am actually running. Something interesting my PT noticed was that I was landing harder on my left foot (the injured one) and we could hear that my landing was louder on that side. So I am also trying to make sure I land lightly with both feet.
4. Hip height – This can be seen when there is a “hip drop” or the side of the swing leg dropping lower than the supporting leg. When I swing through it’s like my foot barely passes over the ground because my hip is so low. I am not really driving my knee forward or extending my leg back at all. I am working on trying to get the hip strengthening exercises I do to carry over into my running. This will be through exercises that are more similar to the running motion as well as being more aware of it while I am running.
5. Hip extension – I have had multiple people tell me that my hip barely extends when I run. The common reason for this is tight hips and weak glutes, but I have to wonder if it’s also impacted by my low cadence and hip drop. This is going to be the next part of my form that we work on, and I learned one exercise to get me started on it, but it will be interesting to see if the other changes I am working on have any affect on this.
I think these are some common problems that a lot of runners have and they can show up in the form of all different kinds of injuries. It’s so beneficial to have someone walking me through the process of working on my form. I did a lot of work after my visit to the UVA clinic last winter but because I only went once there was no opportunity to see if I correctly implemented the changes I was supposed to be making.
Sometimes I can’t believe just how complicated running can be. But not running isn’t an option, so I’m willing to put in the work if it will get me back to where I want to be.
Have you ever worked on foot stability?
Have you ever had someone help you work on your running form?