New research suggests that contralateral pelvic drop may have a significant influence on the frequency of many common running injuries. IT band syndrome, Achilles tendonitis, patellofemoral pain and even shin splints may be connected to or made worse by contralateral pelvic drop. What is it, and what can be done about it?
Contralateral pelvic drop describes the way the pelvis moves side to side when running. There is a simple test you can do right now to see if you have any noticeable trace of this postural issue. Stand in front of a mirror and then balance on one leg. Watch your hips in the mirror closely – if there is any drop in your hip on one side, you may have contralateral pelvic drop. Don’t forget to check for this on both sides of the body by alternating the leg you balance on.
Researchers examined many runners and measured their rates of contralateral pelvic drop. One study compared rates of pelvic drop of previously injured runners to runners that reported with clean bills of health. They found that for every degree of drop, there was a corresponding 80% increased chance of injury in the runner. This is a significant finding. We know that lower limb joints can refer pain and postural issues further up the body. Poor gait can cause pain in the knees, hips and lower back, for example. This is one of the first times that repeated hip displacement while running may indicate increased injury rates in the lower body.
Preventing contralateral pelvic drop
There is information that suggests contralateral pelvic drop may be reduced or eliminated by selectively strengthening muscles that support the hips while running. In particular, the gluteal muscles are known to have an important role in reducing the amount of drop runners experience. During cross-training sessions, runners should focus on developing both strength and stability in the glutes and quads. Static balancing exercises combined with dynamic movements like lunges and weighted squats may help to provide additional support over time. You may benefit from a professional assessment of your situation and if you have significant contralateral pelvic drop a sports physiologist may be able to advise further specific exercises.
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Whilst Enertor has over 18 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical advice. Enertor advises anyone with an injury to seek their own medical advice – and do not make any health or medical related decisions based solely on information found on this site.