Kicking yourself in the shin?

Leave the first response January 27, 2009 / Posted in Mindful Running, Oz on Injuries
Robert.J.Racusin@dartmouth.edu (Robert J. Racusin) wrote:
> When I run, I noticed that my foot often hits the opposite shin,
> leaving smears of mud or dirt or even bruises. I have heard that this
> is a sign of being out of shape. Is that true, or is it just something
> in my stride?

Some folklore. If you look down at your feet in the morning are they splayed out like “10 to 2” feet. Probably one foot is a little pointed out more than the other. What happens is that the splay along with the lower leg swinging forward catches the opposite shink/ankle as it swings forward from the knee.

Something I heard from/read by LeRoy Perry years ago. As you stand brushing your teeth in the morning look down at your feet. If they are splayed, don’t bring the toes in to get the feet straight; rather rotate the heels outward so that your feet are straight ahead (i.e. if you looked in a mirror, your heels would not be seen because they would be hidden behind the front of the foot). By doing this you have rotated your hips a little. Now bring your feet one or two inches in so that you are standing directly over your feet. Your knees can bend easily. Your feet, knees are aligned straight ahead. You’ve also slightly realigned your hips.

About the shins/ankles getting knicked, I think it has more to do with the lower leg swinging forward like a pendulum because there is little or no knee lift. I also think that it has to do with an overstride. It’s during the overstride and the little or no knee lift that the splayed foot’s heel swings forward and catches the opposite shin/ankle.

Someone measured the splay of feet and found you’d run so many more steps per mile then if your feet were straight ahead. If you’ll put your feet together so your toes touch a line in front of you, and then splay your feet a few degrees and then a few more, you’ll see what I mean. Someone also pointed out that the toes are right angle hinges. With a splay the force vectors are still at right angles but the toes and feet are a few degrees off zero degrees. That pressure pushes at the joint. The irritation over the years causes a development of more cartilage at the first metatarsal which gradually calcifies. Maybe bunions aren’t genetic, it’s just that we’re great imitators at an early age of our parents and other role models.

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