Running asymmetry, body style and running injuries; What is the connection?

Running asymmetry, body style and running injuries; What is the connection?

Most of our patients know that I preach the idea of symmetry in the gait process, since there are effects on the core, such as pelvic distortion that is a result of our body responding to the forces placed upon it. In the book Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain, there is a further discussion of this idea which is common in those suffering from chronic pain. In runners, those who are asymmetrical tend to have the most problems because as the pelvis distorts, their legs tighten and gait shortens, increasing the force at which we hit the ground, and secondary compensations into the upper body. This creates torsion around the thoraco lumbar joint region and makes for inefficient and injury prone running.

Runners World just published an article that questions the idea of asymmetries causing running injuries. A new Dutch paper counters that assertion, since they proposed asymmetries alone are the cause of most running injuries. Asymmetries alone are not the reason for injuries, however, the compensation that occurs just from an engineering perspective alone will cause damage to tissues due to shearing forces and compensations. The constant pounding, and the poor compensation and running style adaptations merely make the situation worse. I agree that asymmetries alone are not the cause of most running injuries, but after reading Cheating Mother Nature, you are likely to see things a little differently.

Check out this article on running asymmetries from Runners World. It is certainly food for thought.

Running Injuries Remain Difficult To Understand

Study: Asymmetries don’t appear to be a culprit.

If you’re one of those eager for resolution of the knotty “Why do runners get injured?” question, welcome to the crowd. The last several years of barefoot/minimalism/footstrike debate have brought the dilemma into sharp focus. And plenty of researchers are looking for answers.
Problem is, those answers are proving difficult to find. Take the latest paper on running injuries, for example. It looks at ways in which foot and leg “kinetic asymmetries” contribute to injuries. If ever there were a leading candidate for injury causation, this one would seem to be it.
Yet an experienced team of Dutch researchers could find no correlation between runner asymmetries (which were frequent) and injury rates.

Many of us are aware of our asymmetries: One leg is longer than the other, one foot is bigger, one knee pronates inward more, one shoe’s outsole has a different wear pattern than the other, and so on. Even some elites have noticeable asymmetries, such as the right arm swing of marathon legend Bill Rodgers, seen above.

We don’t go around quoting the forces (or “kinetics”) that result from these differences–not the way we discuss our blood pressure and cholesterol readings–because we don’t actually know these forces. Most of us haven’t been evaluated in a biomechanics lab.

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Read Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain available through