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Corrective Exercise and Functional Movements

Neil K. Carroll, ATC, LAT, PES, FNS, SNS, GFS, FMS-L1

SEPTEMBER 2014 – With today’s ever-growing interest in road races, tough mudders, dynamic dirt challenges and extreme activities, we as health care providers continue to see a rise in the number of foot, ankle, knee and shoulder injuries. Along with this, individuals of all ages have become more active in their pursuit for a healthy lifestyle. It may be that they are trying to beat the growing cost of healthcare, or that they want to get back in to their favorite pair of jeans. Whatever the reason may be, the search for the proper training model is different for each individual and the goals that they have set for themselves.

We all have been known to reach for the iPad looking for an “app” that will teach us to run a 5K, a half marathon or drop ten pounds. But what about the knee pain that continues to flare up between miles two and three? Is your program addressing the needs of muscular imbalance or mobility issues that may be causing the pain or inflammation? If your program is not addressing corrective exercise patterns, than you may actually not be performing at your highest level. The new wave of training has the focus on functional movement, or improving the individual’s movement patterns efficiently. One of the leading causes of foot, ankle, and knee pain in runners is related to faulty movement patterns created by muscular imbalance, mobility and or genetic factors (“flat feet”). So what are you doing to address these issues?

Let’s look at one of the more common tools in the fitness world that can provide great feedback to the healthcare provider/fitness professional, or to the individual taking part in the assessment. Functional Movement Systems (FMS) is one of the most under-utilized screening processes for active individuals. FMS allows you to track or score the screening process used to target problems within the movement system. The evaluation process is made up of seven different movement patterns:

  1. Overhead Squat
  2. Hurdle Step
  3. In-Line Lunge
  4. Shoulder Mobility
  5. Active Straight Leg Raise
  6. Trunk Stability Push Up
  7. Rotational Stability

The screening process allows one to identify asymmetries, or mobility issues that may limit performance, or contribute to pain during or after activities. It also allows for the creation of individualized programs, limiting unhealthy or unsafe movement patterns and increasing overall performance.

So, have you sought out help from peers, or asked those who continue to set better times in their races what they have changed? Have you begun a strength routine that best addresses your individual needs? Incorporating corrective exercise and strength routines can and will increase your overall outcomes in a positive manner. You will notice a difference in your energy level, and most of all come closer to the goals that you have set forth. Begin to research who in your area can provide a Functional Movement Screen, and who can assist you in developing and implementing a performance plan that is best for you, but also address the weaknesses that could be holding back your performance results. If your pain does not change with conservative treatment or training routines then contact your family physician or visit your local sports medicine practice for further evaluation.