Running injuries are funny, in the way that they are very commonly not caused by the site of the pain.
In fact, most commonly we find that running pain is caused by problems on the opposite leg!
Recently we had an interesting case study where an old hip fracture on the right side, caused problems on the left.
How can an old injury, like an avulsion fracture of the hip impact the opposite side?
When the hip is injured, it can prevent the muscles around from functioning effectively due to neuromuscular imbalances.
One of the roles of the hip is to assist in propelling our body forwards and sideways slightly as we walk. However, if the muscle function is impaired in this sense, then we will lack the ability to transfer our pelvis to the opposite side.
As our pelvis transfers to the opposite side, our heel lines up to strike the ground.
Now, if our pelvis cannot transfer sufficiently due to impairment from the previously injured hip, this means we will not adequately heel strike with the other leg, and then we get the dreaded collapsed arch.
All of the runners reading this just held their breath…
How might this manifest in a patient? They may come in with any number of previous hip injuries, but their current complaint will be of pain in the hip, knee, or foot on the opposite side.
Now you can exhale – there is a solution!
How can physiotherapy help?
The cause of the left foot and hip issues is not the left side…it is the old and still dysfunctional injury on the right side! In order to permanently resolve this problem, the right side must be treated.
Always treat the body as a whole unit, applying principles from a functional and neurological perspective to really get to the root of the issue.