This week’s spotlight is on Kaylie. She is a collegiate runner and softball player. A real common combination right? Only a superstar could pull it off. She presented with history of hip and knee issues without significant injury, but also wondering if being in a catcher’s stance was affecting her running gait. Her coach has been working with her on improving her hip extension, mostly with stretching the hip flexors and strengthening her hip extensors. Indeed, this is a very common place to start, but we’ll see how it plays out. Here are videos of her running initially.
The most obvious thing in the side view is the lack of hip extension, indeed her hips never really reach neutral. This is certainly not ideal. But again, is it due to tight hip flexors? behind it is difficult to discern much in the sagittal plane (forward/backward), but there are some inefficiencies with how her upper body moves. Upon exam, her hip flexors were moderately tight, but the most glaring deficit was a lack of external rotation in both hips, as well as excessive internal rotation. She also had a substantial amount of myofascial tightness in her lateral hips, which we addressed through manual techniques.
So we started with stretches for posterior hip flexibility.
Next she did a stability exercise using a step to accentuate hip flexion, which also will improve hip external rotation.
And another stability drill to ensure control during hip extension.
So after these stretches and stability drills, here is what her form looked like.
Notice the improved hip extension, as well as the improved efficiency in her upper body more visible from behind.
Again, her form is deceptive initially because it appears to be just an issue of stretching her hip flexors. But she has been faithfully doing this for some time. The lack of external rotation of her hips is playing a huge role because it also limits her functional hip flexion, which causes a quicker push-off on the rear leg limiting the extension. She responded well to these drills and should make steady improvements with consistent performance of these. Great job Kaylie!