For a long time, running definitely wasn't my favorite activity. However, due to my busy schedule I need an exercise activity that doesn't require a lot of equipment and can be done anywhere anytime. I bought a nice pair of running shoes then would psych myself up to get out there and attempt to log a few miles. It wasn't until I saw photos of my dysfunctional posture that I understood why it was such a struggle and hard work just to go short distances. I connected not only my aches, pains and physical problems to my posture but realized various joints were out of position, making it very hard to run.
My ankles, feet, knees and hips/pelvis and shoulders were all out of position. None of those body parts worked the way they were designed to and therefore required an incredible amount of extra energy to overcome the inertia of moving my skeleton that was misaligned.
Look at the runner in this photo.
Does this runner appear to be in "good shape"? Look closely. Once you know what to look for, it is EASY to see why someone would not enjoy running and/or get injured. First, he has very bowed legs. His knee is turned toward the curb and does not point forward! (Do you drive down the road with your wheels pointing straight ahead or pointing at the curb??) This is called external femur (thigh bone) position. Looking closer, his right foot is about to hit the ground on the outside edge of his foot, supination. Here is what the HealthSouth doctors say about runners with pain and injuries:
"Runners with leg pain often suffer from one of three entities: anterior knee pain, shin pain, or Achilles tendon and heel pain. These can be the cumulative result of increases in midseason training that overtax young athletes.
Multiple minor injuries or repeated injuries to the same area are signs of inadequate rest and rehabilitation. The highest risk factor for subsequent injury is incomplete rehabilitation of a primary injury. Athletes with first-time injuries should therefore diligently rehabilitate before returning to play.
Special attention must be paid to a history of stress fractures anywhere in the body. In a female athlete, such a history may be the only obvious sign of the female athlete triad of osteoporosis, menstrual irregularities, and an eating disorder Although no athlete is immune from the consequences of inadequate nutrition, a young woman who participates in an endurance activity or "appearance" sport such as figure skating and gymnastics is at particular risk."
I'm going to bet that the runner in the photo will be injured in due time but not due to "overtaxing the athlete in midseason and from inadequate rest and rehab." It's his dysfunctional joint position and uneven weight bearing.
Running doesn't produce injuries.
A body with joints that are misaligned due to muscle imbalances produces injuries. A body with joints that are truly aligned do not produce injuries. Misaligned joint positions due to muscle imbalances are totally fixable. It's like saying the computer causes carpal tunnel syndrome so move the keyboard around the desk. Of course it doesn't! It is the computer operator that has rounded shoulders that have lost the position they were designed to function with, not to mention forward head position all of which produce pain and dysfunction. Joints should maintain right angles but can still function for limited periods if they aren't. There is a price to pay for joints out of position, wear and tear, inflammation, breakdown of joint capsules, bone spurs, cartilage degradation, torn ligaments, tendons, shredded menisci, etc.
The illustration of the knee on the left shows the bones sitting horizontal and at 90 degrees. The knee on the right, shows the bones are NOT horizontal but SLANTED. Overtime, this causes degradation and changes in the protective materials in the joint.
Ankle joints, knee joints, hips, pelvis, shoulder joints should operate at right angles BECAUSE that is the way the bones of these joints were designed.
Bend the frame of your car or bend the drawer glides of your kitchen drawer or prop one corner of your washing machine up on a 1 inch block.
Do those things work on a SLANT??? No those things won't work. Why? Because they are designed to operate correctly and most efficiently at right angles, squared up because that is the most stable, sturdy, efficient design. Your washing machine might work for awhile on a slant but it will buck and march around the laundry room and then in time breakdown. Your car with a bent frame WILL go down the road....for awhile.....before problems set in from wear and tear in the major joints especially the wheel/axle joints.
Does this barn look stable, functional, straight? Are there any 90 degree angles? The human body is a miraculous design, with all the engineering requirements strength, full range of motion, flexibility, stability and longevity. Change the position of the structure God gave you and in time, there will be physical problems and/or pain.
THE BODY IS NO DIFFERENT.
Look for postural dysfunctions next time you're out in your car and look at the runners on the road. Do you see any of these body parts out of FUNCTIONAL healthy posture alignment? You will. They are EVERYWHERE. And I bet you'd find some in your own reflection too.
There is a real connection between physical injuries (not just running) and misaligned posture. If your knee caps and or feet are not pointed exactly straight ahead when standing and walking and running, then you are wearing down structures like the joint capsule of the hip joints, the ankle joints and the meniscus and joint structures of the knee. This has a cascading direct effect on the spine and shoulder girdle. And the media is espousing, old age is the culprit.
Many clients who have discovered this posture alignment method based on the Egoscue Method, have lamented "WHY didn't I discover this method 10 years (or 20 years in some cases) ago!!"
Old age has nothing to do with it, except that for decades you have been walking around with joints out of the positions they originally were designed to have and maintain.
If you can't get enough plantar flexion in your ankle, then fully functional knee and hip extension - important for efficient running - won't be possible. If your hips and pelvis are not working bilaterally and one leg swings out to the side then comes around to the front, you've got the equivalent of a flat tire. If your arms don't both swing from the shoulder joint or your knuckles of your hands are facing forward, you won't be able to fully counter rotate your upper body in opposition to your lower body. If your pelvis is positioned "posteriorly," leg and hip extension won't happen and the upper body and thoracic spine and head will be positioned flexed forward versus upright. I've just named a few of the posture misalignments you might have, and there are many more posture problems not mentioned here.
IF YOUR JOINTS ARE FULLY BALANCED AND FULLY FUNCTIONAL, YOU WILL BE RUNNING EFFICIENTLY. IF YOUR POSTURE IS MISALIGNED, YOU WILL BE HAULING YOUR COMPROMISED SKELETON AND WEAK MUSCULATURE ALL OVER THE ROAD AND WASTING A LOT OF ENERGY.
Blue-Print Design or Proper Posture :
Call 772-559-1532 or come in to The Posture Clinic in Vero Beach to discuss your individual needs.
Catee Ingwersen is an Egoscue certified Posture Alignment Specialist and Licensed Massage Therapist.