Due to the fact I did not run my 17 miles this morning (a very sad day for me), I spent the morning learning about the anatomy of the hip. I’ve been down this road so many times and I know my body pretty well by now. My hips are the source of my pain (left hip in particular) and it is affecting everything form my left quad, to my left knee, to my left peroneal tendon. (Instead of the singing the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone it should be a tight iliacus causes runner’s knee…)
I’m not a doctor but I certainly do love to diagnose myself. Yesterday when I was at the chiropractor, Dr. Molly was quite impressed with how tight my left hip flexor is. The Active Release Therapy she did was oh so painful but I felt it helped. Therefore, this morning I did some reading on hip flexors. Hip flexors are a group of skeletal muscles that act to flex the femur (thigh bone) onto the lumbo-pelvic complex, i.e., pull the knee upward. This article from Kinetic Revolution explains the importance of hips in propulsion for running. I found this part to be the most interesting:
Over the years working with runners, I’ve noticed a real correlation between not being able to achieve the required G.Max powered propulsion from the Hip (due to restriction into Hip Extension – usually tight Rec.Fem.), and Calf Injuries, Achilles Injuries and Plantar Fasciitis.
I like to explain this by saying that when a runner can’t achieve propulsion from the “right place” (i.e G.Max, at the Hip), a disproportionate amount of propulsion is created by the Plantar Flexors and associated soft tissue structures (Calf, Achilles, Plantar Fascia, etc…) as the runner compensates and “gets the job done” by pushing-off excessively with the lower leg musculature in late stance phase.
Calf injuries? Lower leg injuries? That sounds about right for me.
This video has a few amazing hip flexor stretches. I spent some time doing them this afternoon and I swore to Mario I was cured when I finished.
As always, it’s all a learning process. One day I’ll have it all figured out.
Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Running Update: Race day is two weeks from today! Maybe I should readjust my goal?