Dec 2014 27

Callum's story - running style

By: Dave Wheeler

On a cold December morning a couple of weeks ago, I found myself standing on the road outside my clinic videoing a client running.

Callum is a member of a local running group.

Aged 35 he runs a couple of times a week and takes part in several local races.

For the last 6 months or so, he's been getting pain on the underside of his feet when he runs. The symptoms didn't seem to fit with plantar fasiciitis which more usually affects the heel.

Callum noticed that his shoes were wearing down on the outside of the foot quicker than anywhere else; that also happened to be where it hurt the most.

Recently, the discomfort had got so bad that he had to stop running.

Callum was referred to a Podiatrist who confirmed that his forefoot (on both feet) tended to roll outwards when both walking and running. 

Which was all very well, but didn't get him any closer to resolving the pain or starting to run again.

Which brings us back to the cold December morning, with me using an app called Coaches Eye on my iPad making a video of Callum running up and down the street outside my clinic.


Pic by stockimages @


Running style - body torsion

Callum and I then sat down to analyse the videos taken.

Most of us don't really think too much about our running style; let's face it, most of us are never going to win a marathon, so it's not really much of an issue.

For Callum, though, his running style was causing his problems.

What we noticed from the videos was that his body was rotating when he ran.

It started in his shoulders which were rotating across his body. The rotation of the shoulders caused torsion down the trunk transferring to the hips which were also rotating. The momentum of this hip torsion was then transferred to Callum's legs.

On close inspection of the slo-mo videos, we could see that this rotation of the hips was causing his legs to cross over into the front of his body. It was this gait that was causing the weight of each stride to transfer to the outside of his foot.

Like many people (and the guy in the image above), Callum's arms crossed over his body as he ran. It was this side-to-side movement that started the twisting movement that spiralled down his body.

For most of us, running with our arms going across our body isn't a problem, so Callum's just unlucky.

To stop the rotation of his shoulders, hips and legs, I've made a suggestion that Callum change his running style to have his arms swing directly forward and back (a bit like a toy soldier).

By swinging his arms directly forward and back (instead of across his body) all of the momentum will be transferred into the direction of travel rather than across his body causing it to twist.

Time will tell whether this will sort out the problems with his feet, but I'm hopeful.

As ever, if you think I can help, give me a call.