Running Mechanics Part II: Top 5 Mechanical Faults


Top 5 Mechanical Running Faults

In my last post we discussed some running gait pattern norms. Once again, it is difficult to completely standardize running gait however researchers have been able to set a range of “optimal” angles and loads through extensive observation on runners with and without pain.  So now we know that anything deviates TOO MUCH from the closest thing to a standard can produce future problems.  For clinicians who want to analyze gait a few recommendation for you would be: educate yourself on running gait normal and abnormal patterns, and strongly consider observing running gait in slow motion or use some of gait analysis system. It is really difficult to see under the naked eye unless you have observed thousands of runners and actually paid attention to mechanics. 

Recall what I stated in the first post, “in order to run the athlete has be able to properly absorb shock, demonstrates proper alignment of the lower quarter joint and demonstrates good stability of the trunk, pelvis, knee, and ankle”. Or as I put it “YOU HAVE TO BE FIT TO RUN.” 

When analyzing running gait, crucial deviation or faults will be seen during initial contact through all the way through toe off (the period of time one foot is on the ground). With that being said, lets look at the top 5 common running mechanical deviations.  This may be helpful to some runners and clinicians who are trying to figure out why the athlete may be experiencing pain. 


Running Mechanics: The Introduction


How many of you have come across avid runners for patients? Have they asked you question about their running gait? Feeling confident with answering their questions? If not, this post is for you.

With 36 million people running in the United states, running has become a big area of study. When it comes to running gait (running much like walking) it will vary from runner to runner according to specific muscle imbalances. For this reason, it is difficult to standardize the “Perfect Form”  however there is research to support what “normal” running should closely resemble.  Why is this important? It is important because within the running community there is an incident of injuries as high at 79%, most occurring at the knee. Therefore, you have to think along the lines that these athlete run hundreds of miles a year, there is a repetitive stress, and the ones that are injured may be moving sub-optimally.  The purpose of this post is to introduce basic running mechanics so that we can further analyze gait in the next post. 

Continue reading ….

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Clinical Pattern Recognition - Neck Pain

From anatomy to discovering the patient!

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  • 22% to 70% of the population will have neck pain some time in their lives

  • At any given time 10% to 20% of the population reports neck problems, with 54% of individuals having experienced neck pain within the last 6 months

  • Prevalence of neck pain increases with age

  • Most common in women around the fifth decade of life

  • See more prevalence information in the Clinical Pattern Recognition: Orthopaedics app here

  • Meet the 5 common neck pain patients from the Clinical Practice Guidelines!

Clinical Pattern Recognition

Click on the pain pattern to learn about the patients and develop your clinical patterns!

1. Cervical Facet Syndrome/Spondylosis Neck Pain and Mobility Deficit (1-minute video)

2. Cervical Radiculopathy Neck Pain and Radiating Arm Pain (1-minute video)

3. Whiplash - Neck Pain and Movement Coordination Impairments (1-minute video)

4. Neck sprain/strain Neck Pain and Movement Coordination Impairments (1-minute video)

5. Cervicogenic headache Neck pain and headache (1-minute video)

Cervical Facet Syndrome/Spondylosis

Neck Pain with Mobility Deficits

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  • Patients with cervical facet syndrome or spondylosis tend to present with unilateral neck pain and complaints of limited range of motion. Pain can also be referred to the scapula and shoulder regions! If you do not know the common clinical findings no problem! Click here



Image via Complete Anatomy 2018 by 3D4 Medical

Key Finding

The cervical spine quadrant assessment elicits maximal strain to the facet joints via coupling of side bend, rotation and extension movements. Although discomfort is common with this test, if the patient experiences reproduction of their primary complaint the likelihood of facet pathology is increased. (Click image to watch 1-2 minute video)


If the patient meets the criteria and is deemed appropriate, the patient may benefit from cervical spine thrust manipulation! Research shows that thrust manipulation and/or non-thrust mobilization in conjunction with therapeutic exercise produces better outcomes than either treatment alone! (Click image to watch 1-2 minute video)

Therapeutic Exercise

After improving range of motion it is important to instruct the patient on how to move properly in this new range! (Click image to watch 1-2 minute video)

*As always, remember to assess the whole individual and do not forget to address other impairments, which may be contributing to the patient’s primary complaint!