After this fall's Lakefront Marathon disaster, it was time to face the facts: my knee issues were not getting better. In fact, by continuing to train and race, I could be making things worse. At the very least, I wasn't allowing the area to fully heal so I could get back to training and racing the way I want. Steps had to be taken.
So I went to see Calvin Deutsch at Deutsch Physiotherapy for a running evaluation, including a video analysis of my running, and a plan to fix things. And I have to say, this was the best decision!
My appointment started with running on a treadmill while Calvin recorded me from the front, back and side. After, we went back to his office and reviewed the video. Here's what I learned:
Good ankle position during mid-stance phase. Mild underpronation.
Good heel height at level of back of knee during swing phase.
Good foot strike, landing under center of mass
Right hip weakness allowing left pelvic drop and knees getting too close together
Calvin knows his stuff. It was super helpful to have a PT expert point out my running strengths and weaknesses and areas that need some work. Because I'm such a running nerd, I found it fascinating to learn about how even small breaks in form are related to bigger issues. For example, my right arm sticking out a bit more than my left arm. Calvin explained this is likely due to my hip weakness. That arm sticks out a bit more to help compensate for the weak hip and helps me keep my balance while running.
After watching the video, we worked through a series of exercises. For the next several weeks, single-leg squats, hip hikes and hydrants will be my best friends. He also recommended single-leg deadlifts and a dynamic hamstring and opposite hip flexor combo exercise. Doing these exercises will hopefully help my hip (both hips actually) become stronger so I can kick this knee pain to the curb for good!
I really can't say enough good things about this type of running evaluation. If you're currently injured, Calvin can get to the root of the issue and determine a proper treatment plan. This type of session is also helpful even if you're not currently injured. As most runners know, many injuries start with just a small twinge or niggle. Catch it early enough and you can avoid a longer recovery. Plus, who doesn't want to know how their form stacks up? :)
Tell me: Have you ever had a running evaluation? If so, what did you learn from the experience? If not, what would you most like to learn from one?