This past weekend I returned to Portland, OR to share my perspective on running injury management at Pettygrove Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation thanks to Karl and Sasha Kolbeck. Part of this course involves learning how to conduct a simple treadmill analysis. Below you will see footage from a demonstration that I performed with one of the participants during the lab section.
The runner in this video is an experienced female runner and short course triathlete, who has been dealing with pain at the plantar aspect of her right forefoot as well as her right lumbo-pelvic region. Furthermore, she has recently been experiencing left plantar foot pain that is particularly bothersome with ambulation in the morning though her symptoms abate over the course of the day. She is currently running 3x/wk at conversation pace for distances primarily < 6miles per outing in a pair of Brooks trainers that were screened for defects. Lastly, she is running on 0% incline at 6.5mph throughout this analysis.
As you can see from the first clip, she is initiating contact with the ground with her heel while "overstriking" particularly on the right side as evidenced by the sound of her foot. She is also running at a step rate of ~168 steps per minute based on our estimation doing some simple math.
Between the first and second clips, the only instructions she was given were to stay in sync with the metronome, which was set to 184 bpm (~10% increase ala Heiderscheit et al.) and to quiet her feet down. As you can appreciate, these simple cues and feedback had a profound impact on her running gait mechanics in a matter of seconds and led her to adopt a more flat footed/midfoot strike while lessening the impact at initial contact based on the sound of her feet.
This case highlights how easy and effective gait retraining can be when considering strike pattern, sound, and cadence and manipulating these variables through simple cueing and feedback.
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