Achilles Pain? Your Hips Don't Lie.
As runners are starting to ramp up their training for the upcoming race season, there are no shortages of achilles problems showing up in the clinic. So what is it that Shakira knows but the rest of us don't?
Allow us to explain ....
Often clients are surprised during their assessment that the focus isn’t on the painful area, but rather higher up. We typically look at the problem like this; the sore achilles isn’t really the culprit, but rather the victim of bigger stronger muscles not doing their job. As a result, the work gets passed down the line and things begin to breakdown. We often see a strong relationship between glute strength (or lack thereof) and achilles pain in runners.
Now there are a number of reasons the glutes may not be working optimally, but the overall concept is simple. They should be a key contributor to propelling us over the ground. If they are not, it doesn’t mean we can’t run, we just compensate with other muscles that tend to be less robust when having to do extra work. Unfortunately compensations come at a cost; the hamstrings and calf muscles typically pick up the slack, and the achilles’ pay the price. This is an oversimplified description of one scenario where a runner may encounter an achilles tendon problem, it certainly is not the only reason. This is why a proper assessment to see how your body is moving, a detailed running analysis, and a customized injury prevention program are key to achieving your running goals.
So what can we do in the meantime to strengthen our glutes?
Here is an easy exercise you can do anywhere to ensure your glutes are getting the love they deserve and to prepare them for the race season ahead.
1. Place exercise band around the ankles, bend your knees and engage your core.
2. Kick your leg back at 90 degrees to engage your glute.
3. Bring it back to the start position and repeat 10-12 times per leg.