How walking, running, and biking can cause the back, hips, neck, knees, ankles, and feet pain. Including some proactive ways to avoid injuries and correct your mechanics.
Your ability to move ‘over’ the ground, instead of ‘on’ the ground is very important! Gravity will always keep us on the ground – how we move is more important!
During the COVID epidemic, it has been wonderful seeing so many people being active through walking, running, or biking.
Being a Body Mechanic and Physical Therapist, I noticed the poor mechanics that people, both old and young, were using. I wanted to tap everyone on the shoulder and tell them how to correct their postures, so instead I have written this blog!
These poor movement patterns make us less efficient. It causes poor walking mechanics that lead to pain, injuries, and joint wear and tear to our backs, hips, knees, ankles, and feet. Poor movement patterns are much like a poorly balanced wheel, on a vehicle, causing abnormal wear and tear on the tires.
Here are some things to think about when you’re walking or running:
- Your TOES should leave the ground last, softly, using your “buttock/hip” muscles for the push off movement. Your buttock muscles are your power and stabilization muscles!
- Your lower back should NOT bend, extend, or rotate when you’re walking, running, or lifting. It is not designed to manage this wear and tear.
- Use your HIPS during the stance and push off phase. Hips have an enormous amount of mobility, stability, strength, speed, and balance.
- DO NOT extend your back (keep your back as stable as possible using your abdominal muscles.)
- Your PELVIS should NOT rotate or move from side to side (“headlights” on your hip bones should only face forward – this is also achieved by your toes leaving last as mentioned above).
- Your ARMS should swing from your shoulder blades pulling backwards. This is important for your breathing because the muscles that assist your breathing are attached from your rib cage to your shoulder blades. (Your diaphragm muscles are also attached to your rib cage allowing for improved breathing mechanics).
- Keep your THUMBS pointing FORWADS. When you’re walking and when you’re running your arms should be bent with thumbs up. Use your shoulder blades with slight thoracic rotations for your arm swing. Do NOT rotate in your lower back!
- Keep your chin down and chest up – for better breathing, thoracic mobility, and back posture!
- Your thoracic spine is perfectly made for mobility and stability! Use your thoracic spine for all your movements! Each rib joint has two small joints, and the intervertebral (back) joints are perfectly designed for rotation, side bending, flexion, and extension – this design is amazing.
- When our thoracic spine does not move well the lumbar spine has to compensate for the lack of thoracic mobility. The low back becomes vulnerable causing back pain, disc irritability, and degeneration.
- The average head weighs 8-10 pounds – with relatively small muscles to support your head on your neck. Your head should be on your neck, like a golf ball on a tee. Holding a 10-pound weight in your hand with your elbow bent, would be similar to those tiny neck muscles trying to hold your head up, when your head is forward. Now wonder we get headaches, tight traps, and neck pain.
Work on one or two of these at a time 😊
It will be worth it!
Think of these mechanics with almost everything you do:
– Hips have strength and power
– The Low Back can be vulnerable with poor mechanics
– Breathing is more efficient with better mobility of the thoracic spine
– Squats are great for strength, mobility, agility, and stability
– Make sure your knees are over your toes and use your GLUTES for the push up!