|I guess I used to sit a lot like this when|
I was a kid. It is not a good way to sit!
I am started to try something new with my running, that someone who has a similar biomechanical stride may want to try. I realized post labral tear surgery that my body is still not symmetrical. No matter what the PT shows me to do, I still maintain my same running movement patterns I had prior to surgery. My problem is two-fold according to many doctors: tibial torsion on my left side that has my foot pointed to the side as well as femoral anteversion on the same side that has my femur and knee pointing in to a knock-kneed position. I am told I was probably born this way and you can't change it. I have a hard time believing I had two problems both on only one side. I have noticed that the PT does not help me with the internal rotation of my hip. I started wondering is this a problem I was born with or a compensation for my everted foot because when I point my foot straight, my knee knocks in? I am primarily concerned because the internal rotation of the hip seems to give me a pinching problem where the adductors join the hip, plus the glute medius problems I keep getting when running and I am tired of these problems and just want to run. I am willing to try anything at this point.
I found a strap last week called the DonJoy SERF Strap that is supposed to limit the internal rotation of the hip as you move. I have often wondered if someone could make a product to do that and lo and behold they have.
Developed in conjunction with Dr. Christopher Powers at the University of Southern California, the S.E.R.F. Strap™ is the FIRST patellofemoral brace designed to treat patellofemoral pain stemming from abnormal hip motion(s). The S.E.R.F. Strap™ utilizes a unique 3-point hip-leg anchor to treat patellofemoral pain caused by excessive hip internal rotation, adduction, and/or knee valgus. Made of thin Breathe-O-Prene®, the S.E.R.F. Strap™ is lightweight, breathable, and designed to be worn underneath clothing. The S.E.R.F. Strap™ can be used to control abnormal hip motion during leisure/sport activities and as a training tool in the clinic.
I ordered the DonJoy SERF Strap and tried it out as soon as I got it. I wrapped it around my knee and pulled it tight and wrapped it around my waist. It is a lot of strap, but it wasn't uncomfortable. I ended up doing my longest run since February at 45 minutes. The next day I did 42 minutes. I took a day off and went 49 minutes on a real running route (not just laps around the neighborhood) and then yesterday I jumped into the Mine Falls 5K Trail race just to see what would happen if I ran at a slightly faster pace. First off, I don't get the pinching feeling in my adductors and hip joint after my runs. I think the strap rotates my leg to straighten it out a bit and also pulls my femur out to the side a little also so that it doesn't pinch. It seems like me foot no longer tries to point straight, but goes out to the side, but I think this is good if the knee is tracking straight with the hip because that is the way my body is built. There is a lot of adjusting that my body and muscles have to do. I note that after runs, the muscles around the outside of my hip (or the greater trochanter) are sore and tired, but it is muscles that are sore and not my hip joint for a change. So far the strap is doing something.
Patella Femoral Syndrome can be caused by many thing in the body including muscle weakness, tightness, and/or biomechanics. Depening on the cause of your injury the S.E.R.F strap could help. It basically acts as a cue for you gluteal and hip muscles to fire when they are supposed to. It will not weaken the muscles you are trying to strengthen and can be a good tool to help with proper mechanic at your hip and knee while running and doing your strengthening exercises. (from SERF strap website)Whether it leads to another injury, I don't know. It doesn't seem to be a permanent thing, but more like a tool to retrain your muscles and stride. I don't even know if I am putting it on correctly or at the correct tension, but it is an interesting experiment. Yes, I notice it as I run, but more-so because it alters my leg movement patterns. It is not really distracting otherwise, more interesting, I would say.
At the last moment, I decided to run the 5k race just to get moving with the running crowd again. I have done very limited running over the past few months, so I was just hoping to jog through the thing and I figured I would do it between 25-30 minutes. I ended up running my second slowest 5k in 38 years (last Thanksgiving I ran a few seconds slower in a post-surgery turkey trot). I ran to the level of discomfort and kept the same pace throughout the race and finished in 24:25. It actually felt pretty good, despite running about 5 minutes slower than I was doing just 2 years ago with the bad hip. It is a good beginning point to start a slow year long build up to the place where I can run quickly again.
I wished I had this strap before my surgery as I saw one review where someone mentioned it helped with their pain.
I really really really really really liked this! you can wear it underneath clothes and it really truly works! I used mine because I had a labral tear in my hip and I guess the doctor said it would strengthen a muscle that would make my pain go down. It definitely did! (from SERF strap website)