Up until a few days ago I had no other feedback on how this walking on the centre line technique works for other people. Now my friend whom had a milder case than myself said that his plantar fasciitis is solved. He only focussed on walking and running on the centre line.
Thinking about walking technique further from a mechanical perspective. If there is any energy put into lateral (sideways) movements at all, it is wasted energy.
Observing whether the foot landing position is directly on the line or not.
Here is this guy (Todd) talking about upper torso, however showing some walking on the centre line technique.
This person has compared the landing point of the foot at different velocities.
Way back when I started looking into fixing my issue with plantar fasciitis, these were some of the videos (below) I looked at on running as there was not much on walking that I could find. They helped solve my issue though and now I am running far better than I ever was before.
Not related to plantar fasciitis, but to running which I found out about along the way. A friend of mine whom was analysing his own running technique mentioned 3 things
Concentrate on throwing your leading leg forward rather than pushing off the back leg.
Get your thigh as parallel to the ground as possible on the forward leg lift and
Try to get your foot to be moving backwards before it touches the ground so there is no forward energy projected into the ground.
It took several months to build enough muscle and stamina to do the 3 points, but they feel like they are working.
Quoting my previous post, “To take the calcaneus from outward rotation on landing to inward rotation on propulsion, the small mechanics around the foot would always become overpowered by the overall centre of gravity above it.”
And how true this has proven to be. I am now running maybe 3 times per week and 98% of all plantar fasciitis pain is gone. I only feel a touch when getting out of bed for the first 3 steps.
This main reasons come from the quote above. The centre of mass defines the load on our feet, but our foot position defines the position of the centre of mass. Humans adapted over millions of years so the foot would function in the following way: 1) The calcaneus rotates laterally outward on landing to allow the metatarsals adapt to the ground angle. 2) The calcaneus rotates laterally inward as the centre of gravity (your pelvis) comes over the foot and projects your body forward. Thus the metatarsals lock into a rigid structure to project the body forward. The load line comes down the calf, through the heel and toward the little toe.
The number 1 technique to cure Planter Fasciitis
Walk on a straight line.
Whether you’re running or walking each step should land on the centre line. 1) From a stand still project the direction you want to go bringing your back foot forward for the first step onto the centre line of the path ahead. 2) The foot should point slightly outward. In detail the landed foot should draw the centreline from the outside of your heel to the split between your big toe and the next toe. 3) As you walk or run you will inevitably touch the heel first, but you will feel the load enter into the area on the outside of the foot 4-5cm behind the little toe.
The above 3 points have been the crux or the solution for me. Amplified by: 1) Strengthening the glute medius to control the lateral angle of the leg during walking and running. 2) 2 minute calf stretches across the centre line (See Jeff Cavaleri’s videos – AthleanX on YouTube
mixed with ‘Marks Daily apple’ YouTube channel)
. Specifically stretches greater than 90 seconds as this is the start point of fascia release between the muscles being stretched. 3) Improving all body posture techniques when standing still and in motion. These are greatly helped by Pilates methods. A Pilates or similar instructor correcting your posture helps greatly as it is almost impossible to see or feel our postural faults. (Note posture correction and walking correction feels wrong, but if you can video record your normal self and the corrected self you will be astounded.)
After doing a 50 minute bike ride this morning the pain in the heel is lessened. Working with Dana this morning and watching Jeffs videos again we realised that I walk with toes slightly out and I land heel first but almost flat and then I project forward at probably 20 degrees off straight. I can feel a decent amount of pain in the heel and the on the outside just under the ankle.
Months ago we were watching videos of top runners in slow motion. We noticed that they landed on the heel, but more to the outside than I do. As the foot rolls forwards it really loads down the outside of the foot. After the foot moves through under the body and becomes the motive force, the runners calcaneus does rotate inward toward the centre line of the body.
So I thought this must be the same in walking. Dana also pointed it out when she got me to do this 6 months ago and we found I was walking more easily. Either way testing this morning, in walking I focused on the calcaneus rolling inward on the projection of the back foot. As a result it makes the landing foot land directly on the centre line of travel. My foot has to touch the heel down and then slightly supine (roll outward) and as the loading comes on the load goes through the outer edge of the foot. Instantly walking this way causes less pain. It takes concentration, but the distance projected forward for the same energy is substantial.
Also testing Jeffs glute medius exercise this morning (without a Pilates ball or elastic) I could not get past 16 reps. Jeff was saying if you can’t hit 20 reps then the gluteus medius is too weak.
In this animation above we can see the 3 muscles Gluteus minimus Gluteus maximus and Gluteus medius Studying them more closely it becomes obvious the minimus and medius control the angle of lateral thigh rotation during forward projection whilst walking or running. If the medius is not strong enough then the thigh will be at the incorrect angle for projection for part or all of the movement. This situation also defines the angle of the pelvis through all movements.
To take the calcaneus from outward rotation on landing to inward rotation on propulsion the small mechanics around the foot would always become overpowered by the overall centre of gravity above it.
He points out that the plantar muscle under the foot is being used for projection in walking and running. The reason being that the heel bone (calcaneus) needs to be kicking outward when the foot lands to adapt to the ground. When it propulses it needs to rotate inward to lock the metacarpals together to provide a rigid projection lever.
Jeff says the reason this happens is that if the calf muscles are tight, then there is a timing issue and the calcaneus does not rotate inward on propulsion. The foot stays flexible and the plantar muscle is used for projection. He gives exercises on how to stretch the calves for correcting this movement.
The upper torso is rotating with the walking gape, but can not turn back rapidly enough. This causes another timing issue as it all translates down to the calcaneus not rotating inward on projection. He says we need to fix our thoracic extension.
Rewatching this video whilst writing this post, I realised that I’d forgotten a lot of what Jeff had said. Thus I’ll be incorporating into my regular exercises.
However, I think the Plantar fasciitis came about because I’d had time away from any activity when I moved to Brisbane for a while. I was not training like I normally do and I was sitting on a chair in front of a laptop computer all day. I think the sitting in front of a computer all day seriously slows the blood flow to the calves via the underside of the leg. It’s not an issue if you’re doing decent regular exercise, but the subtle restriction of a chair all day long adds up over time. Several months later I decided to get back into exercise. I did all my normal stretching and then jogging. Thing about being fit once before is that your brain still thinks it is where it was fitness wise. I think this is where plantar fasciitis started.
An interesting point I just learnt. The muscle can start to stretch out in over 30 seconds, but the fascia needs at least 2 minutes per stretch.
Bike riding to loosen muscles below the knee
Also I used to ride for at least half an hour per day in hilly country. Recently I’d only been riding for a maximum of 15 minute bursts in flat country. Thus the blood flow to the whole leg region doesn’t really get going. In my opinion I don’t think bike riding get blood flow in the legs happening till you’ve been in the saddle for at least 30 minutes with at least 8-10 minutes of that being uphill. When I say uphill I mean that you should be sweating after a ride on a 20 degree celcius day at at least 50% humidity.
4 days ago my lower calves (soleous) were so tight that the muscles were lumpy . After 3 days of riding the muscle tissue is smooth once again. That’s 25-35minutes out and the same again back. After the 1st days ride the sore heel was worse in the morning, but I figured that was because I am unfit. The days after were better.
Stretching before stepping out of bed in the morning
The other note which seemed to be a major point in why it went away before was that I’d stretch before getting out of bed. Spending a few minutes pulling my toes back. I really think this reduced the pain standing out of bed first thing and that pain might have been the fascia around the soleus retearing.
This time when it came back a few weeks ago. I’d been unfit. I rode the bike on the flat <15minutes to the gym and did a legs workout. I think squats to the floor must have done it, but also just generally not being warmed up enough from a decently long aerobic bike ride.