In this blog post, we zoom in on the case of a 52-year-old runner with a persistent left-sided gluteal tendinopathy and a painful right Achilles tendon. With the insights of a comprehensive running analysis provided by SPORTI-FY, he gets a better picture of his weaknesses in his running mechanics. Improving his dynamic stability and landing technique during the impact phase, and a well-coordinated arm swing will assist in his Marathon goal within 6 months. Read in this blog post how functional testing can be linked to the objective running measures of Runeasi.
A comprehensive running analysis by SPORTI-FY
Since last year SPORTI-FY offers a comprehensive running analysis. Their goal is to help runners with running-related injuries, identify their weak links, and optimize their running efficiency towards individual goals. An intake helps them to learn from the client’s problems and needs. It’s followed by a comprehensive body examination to check for posture, differences in leg lengths, and the wear and tear of their running shoes. To end the first phase of examination they check for mobility deficits (using Mobee Fit) and do a functional screening to assess dynamic stability and activation patterns of different muscle chains. In the second phase, the runners perform the actual running test. All relevant speeds are measured with the option to test different shoe wear. Kinematic data from video analysis is combined with the objective measures of Runeasi.
"With Runeasi we can measure what we indirectly try to estimate through kinematics"
With all the information in the back pocket, they get a clear picture of their runner’s pain points and provide them an individual trajectory to improve their running. This can go from a functional exercise program to specific running cues.
Running case: Left gluteal tendinopathy & Right Achilles tendon pain
Problem: Persistent left gluteal tendinopathy, painful right Achilles tendon
Training goal: Complete a marathon within 6 months
Training status: 3x/week, 40km/week
Training gear: Neutral running shoes (Brooks glycerine), no insoles
Posture: No deviations
Mobility/flexibility: good, painful FADIR test
Muscle examination: Anti-rotation weakness, right-sided glute medius weakness
Functional step-down test: right-sided difficulty (more hip drop & foot prontation)
The runner performed a 3-speed test on his current training shoes (Brook glycerine). The goal of the 3-speed test is to identify different loading patterns from his easy running paces to his marathon pace. The used speeds were 11km/h, 12km/h and 13.5km/h.
Functional asymmetries revealed by Runeasi
Left leg: Increase in impact and peak rate with higher speeds.
Right leg: High Increase in dynamic instability at higher speeds. Decrease in impact and peak rate with higher speeds.
What can you expect with increasing (sub-maximal) running speed?
- Slight increase in impact and peak rate (Linear)
- Slight increase in dynamic instability (U-shape)
- Decrease in ground contact time, increase in cadence
- No differences in asymmetry
Qualitative kinematic assessment
- Overal increased upper body movement
- Initial contact: The left leg is more internally rotated (toes inward), increased knee extension and distance from foot to virtually drawn COM. This is more pronounced with higher running speeds.
- Stance phase: Increased knee flexion angle and excursion on the right leg. This is more pronounced with higher speeds. More lateral arm movement on the right side.
- Swing phase: Reduced left foot recovery.
Connecting the dots
The increased values in dynamic instability during the right leg stance phase are in line with the results during the functional step-down and the upper body compensations during the running test. This increases the demand of the other stabilizing muscles in the kinetic chain. More compliance in the right lower leg (more flexion excursion during stance phase) at higher velocities creates a dampening effect, which explains the decrease in impact values on the right side. On the other side, the overstriding pattern of the left leg with a more internally rotated position of the lower leg explains the increase in impact and peak rate with higher speeds.
What are the recommendations for this runner
1. Improve impact values and impact asymmetry by enhancing the recruitment of the hip muscles (glute maximum, hip flexors). This will help him with a better propulsion and landing technique.
2. Reducing dynamic instability by a dynamic exercise program where the glute medius and other stabilizing muscles are challenged.
3. Improve arm coordination to have a good torsion between pelvis and torso. This will further enhance mechanical efficiency and overall performance.
SPORTI-FY is a sports-orientated physiotherapy practice that guides athletes in all aspects. Functional screening and assessment form the basis for treatment, prevention, and performance optimization. Physiotherapist Freke Peeters started SPORTI-FY back in 2019. Together with her colleagues Elise Willaert and Arno Van Nielandt, she helps patients with an individual approach towards a full return to sports. Runeasi is an integrated part of their running screening and rehabilitation to objectively measure running and walking gait. It helps them to further individualize treatment plans and confirm progress.
Multidisciplinary work has become the gold standard in healthcare. Cooperation between different healthcare segments forms the basis for optimal sports performance. SPORTI-FY works closely together with Sportwijzer and the medical team of MijnSportarts (Dr. Kris Peeters en Dr. Glenn Van Crombrugge). Sportwijzer provides advice and examinations to help you sport medically responsible. When a runner has regular or persistent injuries, a comprehensive running analysis is prescribed to help them further with their problem.