Georgina asked the Guru about her running gait – having a shorter stride on one leg

May 22, 2014

I have known for some time that I run as if one of my legs is shorter than the other. My oseteopath has assured me that both legs are the same length and I should be able to correct my gait even though I have probably been running this way for 15 years or more. I have suffered plantar fasciitis and achilles tendonitis when I up the distance or frequency of my running. I am currently suffering pain and tightness in my lower back due to extremely tight psoas. All of these problems occur on my “shorter” leg. What can I do to correct the problem?

May 22, 2014

Ah – symptom chaser!

I think one of the major issue of musculoskeletal medicine of gradual onset symptoms without trauma or a very specific incident, which just knocks your symptoms over the edge, is that there are very, very few causes.

If you identify the cause then you never really have to worry about chasing the symptoms away.

Lots of people have leg length differences, but very few if any (unless you are an elite level athlete or on your feet all day) need any form of intervention. Your osteo is talking sense!

However you don’t have very good control or endurance of your glut med muscle. This gives the “illusion” of 1 leg being of different length to another.

If you do a single knee bend on the dodgy side you’ll see opposite hip drops (amongst other things) and this is because your not bothered how you do the movement as long as you complete it. Your brain is telling you to get the opposite knee nearer to the ground. You can’t control it with pelvis so you let your hip drop. You can’t control you glut.

People who can control their glut also commonly have issues with PF and Achilles’ to name a few.

So, your psoas is not tight but it’s stiff. It’s protective of your lower back because it moves too much. It moves too much because you can’t control your glut…..

You don’t use your glut well enough because your lower back “sits” in a position where you don’t need to use it. The excessive movement in your back is because your thoracic spine is far too tight.

This is the common cause.

Get your thoracic spine moving, learn to stand tall with your lower back in the right position so you can recruit your glut when standing, walking and running.

Functional training not just strength training of your glut med is key….

The Guru
Six Physio

Guru Responded

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