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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Low Impact Running for Hip or Knee Arthritis

Dr Blake, what can you tell me about this style and the shoes that help-- Newton, Altra, etc. I discovered advanced arthritis in my right hip and trying to prolong its life. Having a gait analysis next week.

Dr Blake's comment: This is a nice video below discussing low impact running to help slow down the stress on your hips. The basic biomechanical changes do not revolve around running slower however, unless you are going down a hill, which is sort of counter intuitive. The basic changes are to get away from heel strike (which may or may not require a zero drop shoe like Newtons or Altras). I can easily run midfoot to forefoot strike which my normal Asics. You need to actually focus on improving your stride rate to 85-90 strides per minute. A stride is the distance from right foot land to right foot land, or 170-180 steps per minute (right heel strike to left heel strike). As you increase your stride rate, you will have a natural pull back of the landing foot that gets you more on the center of your foot). This increased stride rate allows us to avoid over striding, which produces a jarring damaging force on our knees and hips. You can also see the videos on Chi Running on my blog which emphasize the proper mechanics of midfoot landing/strike.  Hope these principles help. Rich

Dr Blake's comment:
     So, to summarize:

  1. Avoid down hills with a passion, and run slowly down them if encountered
  2. Work on Chi Running Techniques to get more midfoot or forefoot land, avoiding heel strike
  3. Find a Zero Drop or Neutral Shoe (both well cushioned but stable) that allows you to land on the midfoot or forefoot easier.
  4. Gradually try to increase your stride rate with proper landing foot pull back to avoid heel strike. 

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Thank you very much for leaving a comment. Due to my time restraints, some comments may not be answered.I will answer questions that I feel will help the community as a whole.. I can only answer medical questions in a general form. No specific answers can be given. Please consult a podiatrist, therapist, orthopedist, or sports medicine physician in your area for specific questions.