So you have heel pain. So does my track teammate Angela on the right side. I filmed her running, unbeknownst to her, and froze the video to get this screen shot. That right heel and ankle is definitely torquing in, so that doesn’t help matters at all.
But is it the whole problem?
Take a look at the screen shot of the left side.
Hay Caramba! When caught fully loaded on the left hand side, you can see her left hip pop up (compare it to the position of the right hip above) and her left shoulder dramatically drop down. The right hip might have some lateral shift, but the right shoulder stays level. Therefore, the right hip is more stable and in a better position than the left hip.
Way more stable.
So why the pain on the right side?
The left hip, of course!
It is up and wiggling around, and putting more pressure on the right side. If you build a house with the third story slightly higher on the left side, where will all the furniture slide? To the right side, thanks to gravity! The right side is paying the price for the out-of-position and perhaps ‘on vacation’ left side.
We have a group text for the track team, and all we kept hearing about was how she couldn’t run because of the darn heel. She was consulting with a physical therapist, and nothing seemed to change. She brought up the fact that maybe she needed a stronger core. She even mentioned some glute work she was doing. She is also a doctor, so unquestionably she was getting high quality care.
But nothing seemed to change.
We just kept hearing about that darn heel. See what I texted her? “Get your left hip flexor!”
Finally, two weeks ago, she and I ran a mile together and I tried explaining AGAIN what I thought the problem was. After the workout, she asked how to get her left hip flexor working, so we tried a couple exercises.
What happened next? Watch the quick one minute video below to find out!
The moral of the story? Take a look at the whole system that is your body, not just the part that hurts! You want to get after the cause, not merely the symptom. Let me know in the comments below what you think! Did you see the problem here in this case study? Have you tackled something similar?