Breakthrough

Discussion in 'Chapters' started by Neil_D, Oct 4, 2020.

  1. Neil_D

    Neil_D Chapter Presidents
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    Hi All,
    Over the last few years my running has not been the best due to a persistent knee issue that I could not seem to fix. I saw physiotherapists who bound my feet, wanted me to wear orthotics, jabbed me with needles all to no avail.
    I saw a muscular skeletal therapist who helped but the fix only lasted a short while before the pain in the knee returned.
    Even with the knee pain I would still go out a few times a week to run and sometimes it was so difficult I would have to stop and walk back. Maybe it was time to stop (I can't say hang up my shoes) but I couldn't as I've been running since I was 14 years old, it's been my life.
    I have even been running in a few relay races recently as a stand in for Western Athletics club, I have not been happy with my performance though. It is hard trying to race with a jabbing pain in the knee.

    The good news is, finally after 3 years I believe I have worked out what it was and have fixed it.
    It was so simple and staring me in the face. The exercises I did at the gym were not the ones that targeted the problem muscle. I did squats, lunges, leg presses, leg extensions, non of these made any difference. Then I found the one that did.
    It was the abductor exercises, the muscles that attached to the outer hip and form the glutes. I did the clamshell exercise, side leg lifts, abductor machine at the gym and found that when I went out for a run the pain had gone.
    It can't be that simple I though, maybe just a lucky run. I carried on with the exercises and went on another run and again, no problem. So,it looks like all along it was that, a referred problem from weakness in the hip area.
    So, if any others out there are having knee issues, first focus on the hip area muscles. Outer hip first.
    As I have a sit down job all day and I have a 2 hour commute each day I spend around 10 hour in a stationary sitting position, the scourge of the western world, responsible for billions of dollars worth of back problems.
    The joy of being able to run again without a knee pain is amazing. I am just disappointed that the physiotherapists didn't first give me the information that I should do these exercises rather that first try to sell me band aids.

    Good to be back again.

    Regards

    Neil
     
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  2. Larry

    Larry Barefooters
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    Nice one Neil, hope it gives you a long term fix!
     

  3. Tedlet

    Tedlet Barefooters
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    Sounds like good news Neil..
    Always amazes me that when you experience pain it can sometimes be an indicator of a problem in a completely different area of the body.. Complicated things bodies..;)
     
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  4. Neil_D

    Neil_D Chapter Presidents
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    Thanks Larry & Tedlet
    Yes the problem with these kind of injuries is that balance that the body needs to be able to do something efficiently.
    I had been doing exercises to strengthen the inner quads with the idea that the outer quads were too strong and pulling the kneecap in a wrong direction, I was wrong.
    The glutes,outer hip, I think stops the knee from collapsing inwards when running (A doc would be able to confirm that).
    Even up to a few weeks ago I was working on the inner hip muscles and stretching and that was not making much difference. I did notice I found the abductor machine in the gym hard to use, I couldn't move much weight, a sign that they were weak. I started working on them so I could get up to the same weight than I could do in the opposite direction.
    So, after just over 2 weeks of using this machine and floor exercises the answer to the problem became apparent.
    Fingers crossed that I can now get my fitness and distance up again after a long period of intermittent running.
    Cheers

    Neil
     
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  5. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Incredible! I know you have talked about your pain here before. I am so excited for you! What a gift to be able to run again pain free. Enjoy life, Neil!
     
  6. flammee

    flammee Barefooters

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    Outer hip, that's gluteus medius. I had some groin pain issues and gluteus medius training was recommended. Here's easy way to activate GM without equipment and getting on the ground..

     
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  7. Neil_D

    Neil_D Chapter Presidents
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    Hi Flammee,
    I have been working those glutes (getting lots of tips from the ladies) for the past month and although they are not quite the size of one Kim Kardashian but they have finally been put to work for a living.
    I think my main problem was that the amount of time spent sitting, 8 hours at work along with 2 hours of driving meant my glutes were lazy slobs that were asleep for most of the day.
    I have been doing Clamshells, Bridges, Sumo deadlifts, full squats, Bulgarians etc. The glutes didn't know what was happening, they were being tortured. I was walking around like a stiff legged robot.
    It is definitely the answer to the knee issues though. I was so weak, even now I'm lifting only very light weights of around 30kg. I was chatting to a guy in the gym who was doing full deep squats with 130kg on his shoulders. He didn't look like a huge weightlifter but he was incredibly strong. He recommended just squatting down with no weight to increase hip flexibility. I have a long way to go.
    So, basically, chairs are the work of the devil, made to destroy our backs and knees. Much like shoes are designed to destroy our feet.
    Enlightenment is such a joy.

    Regards

    Neil
     
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  8. Gordon

    Gordon Barefooters

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    I'd suggest also working your adductors to maintain balance. When my knees hurt, it's always the medial side, where they touch if you put them together. Working my adductors fixes me right up. Now I work both abductors and adductors to avoid the opposite imbalance and a new flavor of knee pain. So if someone reading this has knee problems, work everything. :)
     
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  9. Neil_D

    Neil_D Chapter Presidents
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    Hi Gordon,
    Yes, I work adductors and abductors. I can never remember which is which but I know I had less strength on the exercise where you moved the weight machine to the outside. I have evened it up now. I was all set to get some decent mileage back again when I had some calf strain, too much too soon.
    Then, while way over New Year I manage to drop an unopened beer bottle on my little toe from the upper level of a fridge, that bloody hurt.
    My toes swelled up and the lower part of my foot went black from bruising.
    I honestly thing I should be barefoot while walking around outside then put steel capped boots to move around inside the house. It's a very dangerous place.
    I'm stiff at the moment from doing deep squats. I need to get some racing speed back up again.
    Regards
    Neil
     
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  10. Gordon

    Gordon Barefooters

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    You left out the most important part. Did the bottle break? I hate wasting beer. :)

    Abductors move your leg away from midline. I think about abduction being used interchangeably with kidnapping, where a person is taken away against their will. It's weak, but it helps me keep them straight.

    There are exercises you can do at home that work well to strengthen the hips if you can't get to the gym or if they get shut down again. Ankle weights and bands to start, then some easy planking, and then some plank variations that can really set things on fire. One nice thing about getting off the machine is that you also strengthen the supporting muscles. That reduces the chance that you end up with a different imbalance.
     
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  11. Neil_D

    Neil_D Chapter Presidents
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    Hi Gordon,
    I shall remember the kidnapping (abduct) analogy - away from midline. I bought a band to add more resistance to the clamshells.
    Another first for me tomorrow will be a visit for a traditional Thai massage (the stretching type).
    I'm hoping that they can locate any tightness in either of the legs that they can loosen up.
    I know that my flexibility is poor and needs to be worked on so this is a start.
    I have also got a voucher to have a Float as well, that also will be another first.

    Regards

    Neil
     
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  12. Neil_D

    Neil_D Chapter Presidents
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    I think I posted this in another thread but I'll add it to here as well.
    I have been running barefoot for around 12 years now and you would think that it would automatically move your running style to the correct form.
    What I have found out though is that you always have to be conscious about your form as is can change over time into a less, shall I say, beneficial form.
    One of the books that helped me in the beginning was The Art of Pose Running as it formalised the style you were trying to achieve and the one main theme was the slight forward lean.
    This is very important in barefoot running because what is does is stop your foot contacting the ground in front of your centre of gravity.
    Why is this important?
    Well, despite being more efficient, using gravity to move forward, it also reduces pressure on the knee. The mystery that I have been trying to solve for 3 years (after an running accident) to get rid of a knee pain was not due to the injury but to a change in my running style which had lead to a more upright running form with more emphasis on quads which is not good for landing correctly.
    The forward lean and use of hamstrings to pull the foot from the ground is the way I originally started then forgot about. I will now be consciously playing this tape loop over in my head when I run, "Forward lean, hamstrings pull".
    Finally the mystery has come to an end. I now have to get my lung capacity up to keep up with my legs.

    Regards

    Neil
     
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  13. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    I agree with you, Neil. We would think that since those of us who are running naturally and for a good period of time would just automatically, by second-nature, have a good healthy running form down, but that's not the case. I've wondered if the reason would be because we were tainted when our parents put us in shoes and we developed the habit of walking and running shod instead of barefoot; whereas other cultures who've always walked and run barefoot from the beginning maybe don't have the same injuries that we do, even after they've picked up running shod as adults later in life. What I do know is that at least when running barefoot, we are not fooled by our shoes offering up fake protection from the ground or from improper form/movement because we can feel the change/incorrections and adjust accordingly; whereas shoddies cannot because their feet are deaf.
     
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  14. Neil_D

    Neil_D Chapter Presidents
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    That is an interesting question.
    Maybe you are correct in that if your first exeriences of running were done without shoes, it forms a strong mental pathway in the brain. It would be an interesting experiment to find people who initially ran barefoot then transitioned into shoes, did their gait change.
    That would be a question for Dr Irene Davis or Dr Daniel Lieberman.
    There is that elastic nature of memory that pulls you back to an initial experience. It can be hard to change 30 years of being hard wired to run in shoes.
    All I know is that I an going to have to be conscious of my running form from now on and not just assume I am running correctly.
    I do know that I am not heel striking as I would have done many years ago, but my foot placement should be directly underneath me and not in front.
    I did notice in photo that someone took while I was running in a relay that my style didn't look as I thought it should look and now I know the answer why.

    Regards

    Neil
     
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  15. Gordon

    Gordon Barefooters

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    POSE uses some nice imagery and I'm glad it works for you. I use some of the imagery myself from time to time. One thing to be aware of before you get into an argument with an engineer or physicist, however, is that Romanov butchered the physics of POSE. The bottom line is that a vertical force has no horizontal component and can thus provide no motive power on a steady state basis. Also, you must land in front of your COG or you will face plant as nothing will oppose the forward rotation of your body. Trying to land under your COG works because it reduces foot contact time, not because you can actually accomplish it. The reason that falling forward feels effortless is because of your fall reflex, the unconscious righting mechanism, that kicks in automatically whenever you lose your balance. If something works for you, that's great and good to know. Just don't get all religious about the details just because you view working for you as proof of the theory. I've run into that before and it doesn't end anywhere good. :)
     
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  16. flammee

    flammee Barefooters

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    Theoretically, I don't think you need to land on front of your COG to not faceplant. There's resistance of air that keeps you from faceplanting, with lot of speed or just strong headwind you can lean quite a lot.. Bit like if you lean on wall and run on place. And if you think runner as a stick that is leaning forwards (like " / ") then if you add a force pushing that stick forwards at the bottom of stick that force would stop the forwards rotation.. And that just happens at the push off phase.

    In practise, I might agree though. Agree on physics butchery also, it's probably just a cue, so that thinking it works that way makes it work, while in reality mechanics are bit different. But if you tell how it really works, people have much harder time putting it into practise. So, gravity pulls forward is probably a right thing to say... Or they have used those cues so long that they actually believe it works like that.


    BTW, my latest possible breakthrough (kinda opposite as OP?) was to start running with more narrow gait. My foot lacked some eversion mobility (which physiotherapist verified) and the sole of foot was pointing inwards at rest, so I realized that if I would land more closer to centerline, it would force the foot to inversion/supination bit more at every step. Seems to work, my feet look bit less weird at rest and running is a bit softer and it feels kinda right. And ankle feels bit healthier, less stiff and moves more fluidly. But I'm doing few other new things also, like ice water feet baths and some loaded eccentric stretching/strengthening stuff, so don't really know. :rolleyes: It's just that every time I found something new to test, I dig things and found few other things to test at the same time.. :meh:

    Narrow gait is called crossover gait and it is associated with knee & ITB problems, but it's not that clear picture, it doesn't cause these problems to everyone and there are some high level runners doing it..

    Here's bit of barefoot runner's perspective about it..
     
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  17. Random

    Random Barefooters

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    I'm glad I saw this thread. This looks worth trying. Thank you for sharing.
     
  18. Random

    Random Barefooters

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    Thanks for this memory tip.
     
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  19. Gordon

    Gordon Barefooters

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    Exactly
     
  20. Noodles

    Noodles Barefooters
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    I did this too, but on my big toe! Very, very, very painful. The bottle didn't break, but the skin on my toe did, and there was blood everywhere.

    Thanks for posting about your knee pain. Since the swimming pools have been closed, my knee pain has come back, and is now at the point where it wakes me up at night if I'm on my right side. I hadn't connected it with the muscles losing their strength, but I did a lot of breaststroke, so that would have built up the abductors (great memory tip) and the glutes. I'll have to find other ways to strengthen them.
     
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