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With Bad Movement, Come Bad Knees

If you told me you couldn’t swim then I wouldn’t tell you to jump in the pool. The same applies to running, yet an endless amount of you think you can just throw on your New Year resolution Nike’s and out the door you go wearing down your knees step after step.
 
What does running have in common with Swimming, Horse Riding, Boxing, even Darts???
 
There is a required TECHNIQUE!!!
 
I know, I’ve grown up in a sporting family and schools that pushed sport. The only trouble is that it has been in Ireland and like so many other things, Education has been lacking a bit.
 
As a child my perception of running was just getting from A to B but faster and by any means. It didn’t matter if I was barefoot, wearing a pair of Hi-Tec or football boots. But now 24 years after I first stepped onto a football pitch I now know it matters a great deal how you run and what’s on your feet.
 
Like a lot of things in life. Just because you’ve always known it to be this way, doesn’t mean it has always been this way.
 
Let’s start about the time it all started to go Pete Tong.
 
NIKE! Yep there is a reason you know the name, Athletic coach and co-founder Bill Bowerman is the chap that gave us ‘Jogging’. You ask any athlete in the 1950’s/60’s what jogging was and they’d probably think it was some sadistic ritual. You see Bowerman had great intentions to develop an athletic shoe for everyone and eventually after a number of trials and errors (with a waffle iron in his basement)he discovered that if you put two inches of rubber under your heel, it allowed you to heel strike at a faster pace than walking (Jogging). The ‘Moon Shoe’ is born.
 
Before the Moon Shoe people could only walk or run and without going to in-depth into your three rockers you are not designed to strike your heel off the ground when running.
 
Dr Daniel E. Lieberman says “A lot of foot and knee injuries are caused by people running in shoes that actually make our feet weak, causes us to over pronate and give us knee problems.
Before the modern athletic shoe in 1972 by Nike, people ran in very thin soled shoes, had strong feet and there was much lower incidence of knee injuries.”
He also goes on to say how this has led to chronic diseases of epic proportions. In thinking outside the box he knows that human beings are required to work their bodies physically and how we should all be running. However with the wrong shoe, bad movement and high injury rates more and more decide to sit at home.
 
You see, Mother Nature is smarter than man. She didn’t get it wrong. We have everything we need to move efficiently. Running coaches know it, I know it and even Nike know it.
 
Sure Nike developed their first barefoot shoe back in 1982. Look at any long distance runner today. Yes you see the Nike swoosh or three stripes but they don’t have two inches of rubber under their heels.
But if you were making $17 Billion a year I’m sure you’d just keep doing what you’re doing. What are you going to tell the public that our shoes are part of why  injury rates sky rocketed in the 70’s and no matter all the new technology and air bubbles and gels, injury rates have never fallen.
 
Yes we now have Nike frees and people are going out buying ‘zero drop’ and ‘Minimalist’ Shoes but this is creating a new problem and new injuries. 
 
You have programed yourself to move with your heels raised and now you’re trying to do the same movements with your heels lower to the ground. It may not look like much but take it from someone who spent ten months retraining himself to run 10km. When you drop your heels to the ground you subconsciously won’t heel strike putting more weight on your mid to forefoot and putting more strain on your Achilles (Back of Ankle), Soleus (Below your Calf’s) and Gastrocnemius (Calf’s).
 
Here’s a little test to do right here and now.
 

  1. Take off your shoes and socks and stand up.
  2. Now jump up high and try to land on your heels.
  3. Notice before you hit the ground your brain is screaming at you that your heels are not meant to take so much pressure through them.

 
So what can we do to help improve your movement? Go out and buy your Barefoot (I wear Vivobarefoot), Minimalist or Vibram Fivefinger Shoe. Wear them walking around, at the gym doing weights or spinning just DO NOT RUN IN THEM. You will be sorry. When you can you should be totally barefoot. At home, in the office etc.
So if you do jog that is the only time you should wear a shoe with a thick sole. For everything else be barefoot or as close to as possible.
 
When you are ready to learn to run please get some proper coaching. There is plenty of 1 and 2 day workshops going on but if you want my recommendation get in touch with Jason or René at Champions Everywhere. They offer a full two days of information and practical on injury free running. This is a course for everyone from the Sunday morning jogger to a competitive runner. It’s €250 but is an investment that could save you money in the long run on Physiotherapy and improve your health as it’ll allow you to run more.
 
All this is only skimming the surface on overall movement and running is only an example I chose as I’ve experience on both sides of the fence.  If you do suffer from joint pain anywhere in the body or you don’t have full range of movement in a joint you should get it sorted before it gets worse.
 
Keep in mind that a physiotherapist, physical therapist, chiropractor, osteopath etc. all have different names because they each have different practices and methods. And just because your mate Bob went to a chap with what appeared to be a similar problem to yours and got it sorted, it doesn’t mean it’ll be the right avenue for you.
 
 
Us Irish are great at spending money on cars, houses, clothes and 60 inch TV’s but when it comes to our health we turn into the world’s biggest cheapskates.
 
Look after yourself, invest in your health, education and future.
 
Until next week,
 
Love and Happiness,
 
John T.

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