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Video and Computerized Gait Analysis
As athletes, we have a training plan and work hard to achieve our goals. But at times, we experience plateaus in performance, limiting our ability to become faster, stronger and more efficient.
Perhaps we have even sustained an injury. Or we recover from one injury only to encounter another…and another…and another. And despite tweaking training protocol, practice sessions, mental approach and diet, the “stuck” remains.
My purpose is to eliminate the “stuck”, once and for all. Repetitive injury and sub-performance will be a thing of the past. You will improve your performance and your body.
Our performance and function come down to one factor: how we move. Everything we do and achieve is base on our movement patterns. In my office, we use the most sophisticated analysis methods available to determine how movement is occurring. We then find the problems in an athlete’s movement and work together to eliminate them.
We achieve this through the use of slow motion freeze frame video gait analysis and insole computerized gait analysis. Every minute aspect of gait is thoroughly analyzed.
Believe me, this is not your mother’s or shoe store “gait analysis.”
This technology is then combined with my expertise in analyzing gait. Gait and movement have been my professional passion for over 25 years. I am a renowned lecturer on gait and teach other doctors and therapists at the largest sports medicine conferences in the world.
Let my expertise allow you to achieve all you dream of.
The Movement Matrix
A decrease in mobility creates a constant blockade in the body’s ability to move in a symmetrical way.
A decrease in flexibility creates a constant block in the normal arc of motion. This is caused by restrictions in motion by tight muscles, and the inability of weak muscles to move a body part properly.
An increase in muscle tightness will maintain a faulty alignment regardless of body position. Inflexibility results in less efficient movement and chronic injury.
A weak muscle will cause changes in body alignment and abnormal movements.
A “normal” movement pattern sustains “normal” wear and tear on joint surfaces and “normal” distributions of weight and movement
Overuse injuries often occur due to our over-zealous trainng.
Anatomical abnormalities like high arches, flat feet and leg length discrepancies, as well as biomechanical factors such as magnitude and rate of pronation, are a major factor in overuse injury. But, to some degree, all overuse injuries are training errors .
Muscles, joints and bones need time to adapt to the repeated impact stresses placed on them. and to recover from these stresses. If the impact stress is great enough, and the time allowed for repair and remodeling is not long enough, an overuse injury results. These include Achilles tendinitis, stress fractures, plantar fasciitis and medial tibial stress (shin splints).
What’s an athlete to do? One must achieve acknowledge one’s physiological limitations and work to minimize these limitations.
How does an athlete do this?
First, a thorough evaluation of one’s biomechanics is necessary. A screening with a sports medicine podiatrist, including muscle and joint evaluation and gait analysis, will identify weaknesses, asymmetries and biomechanical issues. These can then be addressed with a rehabilitation program which may include stretching, strengthening and addressing running form.
In addition, our body’s relationship with stress is love/hate. Runners should train below the level at which stresses cause injury, but not so low as to affect no improvement upon or even weaken joint, muscle and bone structures — an obvious example would be prolonged bed rest. Stresses ultimately raise the threshold for injury as these structures strengthen.
Think of proper form as the first line of defense and get to know where there is room for improvement. Here again, the gait analysis component of the sports podiatry exam is invaluable. Athletes must work to maximize one’s unique optimal form to reduce the chance of injury.
Stresses can also be addressed via dampening elements, like shoe cushioning and road surface, can greatly influence the effects of force of impact. Concrete is the least forgiving of surfaces, while dirt paths offer a comparatively favorable degree of cushioning. Aim for them if you are injury prone.
A large factor over which you have control is how fast you run, because this influences the velocity of contact. The intensity of your workout can literally make or break you . Speed can truly kill.
Recovery time cannot be over-emphasized. The body needs time to repair; optimally 48 hours between workouts of the same type. Listen to your body ! If you run hard, you will need more time to recover.
Avoid “too much too soon ” and adhere to the 10% rule. Never increase mileage each week by more than 10 percent. Similarly, gradually increase the intensity of workouts.
The sports podiatry exam will allow you to know your level of flexibility.. Lack of flexibility leads to bad form, which can cause injury. And bad form will result in early fatigue, which in turn further deteriorates form. Aim to gradually improve these components of your training, and it will lead to greater injury threshold over the long haul.
The greatest gains in fitness are thru working hard and then allowing recovery.
Finally, march to your own drummer. Do not follow others just because you are their age. Biomechanical and anatomical factors work together in strange and complex combinations among individuals. Discover a level of training appropriate for you; then gradually ramp it up.
You will be healthier and more successful for following these strategies!
Myths of Running: Forefoot, Barefoot and Otherwise
By GINA KOLATA
Alex di Suvero for The New York Times
Gina Kolata on exercise.
It’s a topic of endless debate among runners. Is there a best way to run, so that you use the least energy and go the fastest? And does it help to run barefoot or in minimalist shoes?
Most of the scientific research is just inadequate to answer these questions, said Iain Hunter, a biomechanics researcher at Brigham Young University. Some studies have indicated that the fastest middle-distance runners — those racing between about half a mile and a mile — land on the midfoot or forefoot. But for these runners, economy — using the least amount of energy — is not an issue, because the race is so short.
When people sprint or run very fast for short distances, they naturally change stride, landing more toward the front of the foot. But that does not mean running that way is better for longer distances.
Last spring, Dr. Hunter saw an opportunity to get some data on elite distance runners and to determine if there is a particular style they favor. Do they hit the ground with the heel, midfoot or forefoot?
Because he works with USA Track & Field, Dr. Hunter was able to get onto the field during the 10,000-meter Olympic trials. He photographed the runners’ feet with a camera that records 240 images a second. These were the fastest long-distance runners in the nation; if there is a secret to their success, he hoped the camera might show it.
The results, for both the male and female athletes, were all over the place. Some landed heel first. Some landed on the midfoot. A few landed on the forefoot. Some twisted their feet inward as they struck the ground, while others kept their feet straight.
“None of these things were connected with performance, nor with running economy,” Dr. Hunter said. That is good news in a way, because studies have repeatedly shown that when people try to change their natural running style, they tend to use more energy to cover the same distance.
Another biomechanics researcher, Rodger Kram of the University of Colorado, recently tackled the second question bedeviling runners. What about barefoot running or running in minimalist shoes?
Most recreational runners strike the ground with the heel first — even many who think they are midfoot strikers. But heel striking is just too uncomfortable when people run barefoot, so they change from heel strike to midfoot strike.
Proponents say barefoot running is more natural — humans evolved to run without shoes — and economical. When you lift a shod foot, you have to lift the weight of the shoe, and that requires energy. Added to that effort is the cushioning in shoes, which absorbs energy that should go into propelling you forward.
If you must wear shoes, the argument goes, the next best thing to barefoot running is to strike the ground with the midfoot and not the heel.
But the argument that midfoot or forefoot running is most efficient for nonelite runners has not held up, Dr. Kram said. “Those who extol it overlook three studies showing it is not more efficient,” he said. Those studies showed striking midfoot or forefoot was no better and no worse than heel striking.
And now Dr. Hunter’s study has found that the very fastest distance runners are often heel strikers.
That still leaves questions about the importance of the weight of a runner’s shoes and their cushioning. In a study published this year, Dr. Kram and his students found that runners who wore very lightweight shoes were more efficient than those who ran barefoot. (The barefoot runners wore weights on their feet to mimic the weight of the shoes, so that this would not be a factor in the results.)
Runners wearing shoes used 3 to 4 percent less energy to go the same speed and distance as those running barefoot with weights on their feet. Dr. Kram wondered why — could it be the effect of the cushioning? The challenge was to separate the effect of cushioning from every other factor.
Dr. Kram figured out a way. In his next experiment, there was only one variable: the amount of cushioning for runners’ feet. All of his study subjects ran the same way, striking the ground with the midfoot. And all were experienced barefoot runners, which was important because none wore shoes for the study, to eliminate the issue of the weight of the shoe.
The subjects ran on three different surfaces while Dr. Kram and his associates measured how much energy their effort required: an old-fashioned treadmill that, unlike the modern squishy ones, had a rigid surface; the same treadmill covered with cushioning material about 10 millimeters —thick (about 3/8 inch), exactly like that used in shoes; and then covered with 20-millimeter-thick shoe-cushioning material.
It turned out that 10 millimeters of cushioning was best: The average subject used about 2 percent less energy to run at the same speed for the same distance with that cushioning, compared with running with no cushioning. There was a metabolic cost to running barefoot, and there was a cost to having too much cushioning.
Ten millimeters of cushioning is about the amount in many lightweight running shoes, Dr. Kram said.
He wants to try the experiment with heel strikers. But for now, he said, the message is clear. There is no best way to run for longer distances. And although many people think that lighter shoes are better and that it’s best to have no shoes at all, he said, “without cushioning it is not better.”
A version of this article appeared in print on 10/16/2012, on page D5 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Myths of Running: Forefoot, Barefoot and Otherwise.
Gina Kolata on exercise.
I will continue my thoughts on movement patterns of the body and specifically when we have asymmetry, or one limb moving one way and the other limb doing something differently. This causes problems in many areas of the body but can particularly lead to weakness in the pelvis/core area. It is difficult for the pelvis/core areas to function well and to be strong when the forces applied to them are uneven. This is often the cause when a well-conditioned athlete is diagnosed with a core weakness, despite being in kick-ass shape. More to come…
Having studied running and walking patterns in patients for over 20 years has given me tremendoud insight as to the common thread in all injuries. Many injuries are due to training errors, specifically increasing mileage too quickly or adding speedwork without a proper base of training. However, the common factor that i see in injured athletes is asymmetry. Asymmetry is when one limb is moving in one pattern and the other limb is moving in a different pattern. And while we have two feet, legs, knees, thighs and hips, we are one body and that one body does not tolerate conflicting signals from the limbs. More in next blog…
Compete better, prevent injury with Dynamic Video Gait Analysis
If you are an athlete with injuries, Dynamic Video Gait Analysis (DVGA) may help solve your injury problem by assessing problems of the foot and lower extremity that may be causing your pain or symptoms. I have been utilizing Dynamic Video Gait Analysis to successfully treat athletes and those with chronic pain issues for several years and the results are outstanding!
DVGA helps assess the following:
Chronic pain syndromes
First, a history of the athlete’s training methods and types of injury is taken.
Next, high speed cameras are used to track markers placed on several joints of the body, including the hips, knees and feet. These markers are used as a reference point to identify any type of abnormal movement of the joints during walking and /or running on a treadmill. Once the motion is recorded, it is viewed in slow-motion and freeze-frame to visualize any abnormalities.
If joint alignment problems are discovered, a personalized program is developed for the athlete which may include shoe modifications or changes, orthotic devices, gait training, referral for physical therapy for strengthening and flexibility, or referral to a coach for training modification.