Jae Gruenke: Fix Common Running Issues – Knees Caving In, High Hamstring Pain, Feet Splaying Out, and More!

February 7, 2018


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Jae Gruenke, GCFP, a Feldenkrais practitioner and founder of The Balanced Runner™. For the past 14 years she has helped runners from beginner to Olympian learn to run pain-free, efficiently, and fast. She specializes in helping those whose problems have not resolved with medical treatment and those transitioning to natural running form, minimalist footwear, and barefoot running. She teaches in the US, the UK, and Germany and also offers online programs at www.balancedrunner.com. You can also join Jae’s Mind Your Running challenge from anywhere worldwide. 

We’re excited to announce that Jae will be a new regular guest on Endurance Planet, coming on to answer your questions on running mechanics, injury prevention/healing, and more in the world of biomechanics and movement efficiency. Send your questions for Jae to questions@enduranceplanet.com.

On this show:

  • Knees are buckling in and feet splaying out at the end of a longer race, e.g. a half marathon and marathon. 
    • What weakness up the kinetic chain is happening here? What specific exercises can be done to fix?
    • Internal rotators are being overly used in these situations
    • Anterior tib and peroneals are also over-used and overly active
    • Not letting the pelvis tilt enough
    • Peroneals can be causing knee to swing in
    • Our left leg tends to the the stability leg
    • Our right side tends to be the dominant side
    • The fix: Support your ability to side shift weight
    • Exercises:
      • Hip drops – glutes and obliques, gets pelvis to tilt, do your “easy” side first
      • Free Your Feet
      • Relax shins and tops of feet
    • The “American Ankle” syndrome
      • Premature dorsiflexion
      • Caused by too soft of shoes
      • Fires hip flexors more, so hip extension will be lacking
    • Why Jae doesn’t like bands around the knees for run-specific strength exercises
    • Bilateral exercises aren’t the answer for runners
    • Squats are NOT run specific (Jae’s recommendations vs. Tawnee’s thoughts on this)
  • High hamstring pain and problems:
    • What is the cause and fix for a dull ache in the upper hamstring? How did you get rid of this particular problem?
    • Usually it’s the tucking of the pelvis (posterior tilt) and fighting a natural anterior tilt
    • Differentiation of thigh from pelvis
    • Hip hinges
    • Why we need and want the right amount of healthy anterior pelvic tilt (vs. excessive anterior tilt issues caused by overly tight hip flexors)
    • Pelvic tilt’s relationship with the head – straight?
  • Help for a pretty bad externally rotated right hip, and coincidently, an hamstring on the same side. Is this something commonly seen in runners, and how would you recommend in dealing with it?
  • Any advice to prevent this hamstring from flaring up again?

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