Q: Is My PT Missing Something?

Hi Lauren,

This site is awesome. I wish I’d known about it sooner! I actually had a navicular stress fracture my senior year of college and did the whole two weeks on crutches+4weeks in a boot thing. I ALSO made the mistake of not seeing a PT when I returned to running. I was impatient and just started running when I felt like it.

I’ve had tendinitis in my foot and now IT band syndrome, so clearly I’m doing something wrong. I’ve seen a few PTs and I’ve been told my hips were out of balance and that my glute muscles have been completely shut down.

I’m just curious, you mentioned that there were some gross imbalances/inefficiencies found after you finally saw a PT…what were they? I just wanted to ask my PT just in case they miss.

This site is awesome. Thanks for sharing all the information you’ve learned.




Hey Mandy,

I was also told that my hips were out of balance and that my glutes were shut down, (especially the one on the opposite side of my injured foot).  I’ll share with you the best three things my PT showed me, and you can ask your PT what he or she things about them.

1.  Foot Intelligence:

The first step is making your feet smarter.  Ask about “short foot” exercises.  Then do all your lower leg strength and balance work with bare feet.  Walk around with bare feet more often, and go on walks in the Nike Frees and seriously just spend an entire 2mile walk or so focusing on your feet rolling through the entire motion on the ground, following through behind you until your glute muscle fires up.  When you are running, spend time thinking about the same type of follow through so that your glute fires properly.

2.  Bootie Incorporation:

There are certain PT exercises that help with muscle sequencing from your feet up to your glutes.  You may need to retrain your neural system to fire things in the right order so all the right muscles are on board at the right times.  After my injury, my muscles were firing in the wrong order and one of my glutes wasn’t doing anything at all.  The best ways I learned to do this were chop and lift exercises with a Freemotion cable machine.  You start by doing the exercises while kneeling on one knee, and progress to standing on one leg immitating a stride.  Firing the glute of your push-off leg, you pull a cable across your body, challenging your core and your foot contact.  After you get that down, you can do all sorts of other exercises along the same theme (single leg, functional movement stuff.)  When you build up to weight lifting, you can do single leg squats and single leg RDL’s to really drive the message home.

3.  Running with Awareness:

With smarter feet and an awareness of core/butt stuff, I worked every day to translate what I was learning into my stride.  It was awkward at first, but after about 6 weeks, I was using my glutes and feeling the ground better.  I now wear more minimal running shoes (Lunarglides) so I can feel the ground, and I always touch back on chop and lift work as well as single leg squats, lunges, and step ups to wake up my butt.
Best of luck with resolving your issues.  Try not to get overwhelmed…its exciting to rebuild your body!  The lightbulb will go on faster than you think if you really bring consciousness to the exercises and remember that its not about building “strength.”  Its about making your body smarter.