The Most Common Cause of Running Injury

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One-Legged Quarter Squat Test

Standing on one leg, slowly do a few repetitions of quarter squat and observe how your knee moves. Does your knee stay directly in line with your middle toe, or does it drop inward, toward or past the big toe and inside edge of the foot? If you can do this test in front of a mirror, also watch what your unweighted hip does during the squat.
Though the movement of the knee is certainly influenced by the foot, hip muscle weakness is a primary culprit when the knee drops inward and/or the un-weighted hip drops lower than the hip of your stance leg. [See Fig. 1]

When either of these movements occurs, it puts abnormal strain through a number of areas of the leg and low back. If it happens to you during a slow quarter squat, it is definitely happening with every step you take on your runs. These repetitive strains can lead to a wide variety of running injuries and pain, including low back pain, hip bursitis, IT band syndrome, patellofemoral syndrome, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis.

So if your squat test reveals these common precursors to injury, here are a few exercises to resolve them before they become a big problem.

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