What has Happened to Derrick Rose?
As phenomenal as Derrick Rose has been on the basketball court, his career has been equally frustrating off of it. I say this only because I remember seeing him pour his heart into his final college game before he made the jump to the National Basketball Association. Before I get started talking biomechanics let’s not forget he was one of the youngest, if not the youngest player to win the MVP for the NBA. He also recently helped the United States win a gold medal. His ability to jump and his elite quickness and vision are only overshadowed by his will to win. The final vision of him in tears on the court after losing his first (and only game) was one that has left an imprint inside me.
With that being said, I don’t watch a whole lot of basketball anymore. I have happily traded those days in front of a TV for playing stuffed animals with my two-year old daughter. How I keep in touch with the game is by reading the box scores. Derrick Rose is one of those guys I keep an eye on. Unfortunately for him, I have seen a terrible pattern of injuries damper his career. As an expert in corrective exercise and The Biomechanics Method, I would also say that is equally unfortunate that his problems have been predictable.
Like any great machine, our body has a structure that allows it to work best. Our skeleton is designed with attachment points to allow our muscles the ability to create force in multiple planes of motion and speeds. From an exercise world, you know this to be true. If you pickup a heavy weight enough, you muscle(s) will get bigger. On a cellular level what happens with weight-training is that your proteins actually get damaged, and you body has to repair by increasing them diameter to handling lifting heavy loads. Noticed that I said, “work best.” What makes our body so incredible is that it is oblivious to muscles and worries more about movement. What I mean is that we have a command central inside us that tells our muscles when to fire and in what order to create movement, but if for some reason (injury, etc.) an alternate plan needs to be made our brain will do so without hesitation. This is the birth of compensation.
So back to the predictability portion of Derrick Rose’s injuries. There are a few generalities that can be made from pain and injury. Number is summed up by Boyle’s Law. Basically what strength coach Mike Boyle illuminates is that pain and injury is only a symptom for a neighboring joint not doing it’s job correctly. This pretty easy to see how this could be true for the knee joint. Go ahead and try to twist your knee without moving your hip or foot first. Obviously, it cant be done. If this leaves you with the idea the body is connected, then you are right.
From head-to-toe, our bones connect to make joints. Moving one joint, affects the position of all nearby bones and joints. It is very much like a ripple in the water, in that there is a point of impact that the stone hits the water but the effects can felt at distance much farther away. This makes understanding the importance of bone position essential to living (or playing) pain-free.
We are in a constant battle with gravity. When our muscle’s become imbalanced and we start to lose this battle, a predictable chain of events will occur. Our ankles will roll-in, this makes us twist our lower leg outward so that we can keep our knees facing forward. As a result of twisting our lower leg out we need to twist our upper leg inward and this makes us tilt our pelvis forward. The pelvis is connected to our spine and to prevent us from falling forward our lower back will arch backward excessively. With a big arch in our lower back our upper back must make an adjustment and round forward so that we can maintain a center of gravity. This is a problem because our shoulders will twist excessively in their and our head will jut forward.
If you are a basketball fan, undoubtedly you have seen him folded up on the court holding his knee. As a fan, if you hear the letters ACL coming after a players name and you immediately think you have seen the last him or her. This is what made me curious to look at images of Derrick Rose. I know that he is a celebrity and he could just be posing, but I am convinced that unless he can get his head in the correct position or he can fix the arch of his foot, his poor ankles, knee and hips will continue to take a beating.
Lets just take a quick look,
I am well aware that this could be him posing and could very well be an inaccurate assessment but for the sake of an argument I am going to presume that this is his “everyday stance and I am going to tell you where some of his issues are. when I see from the front, what is most glaring is that he stands with his feet turned out. This is indicative that he has lost his arch and his ability to transfer weight from one leg to the other has diminished. What I am saying is that his ankles roll in very easily. This makes it very hard to slow down the knee from collapsing inward with each step. Basketball, being a game that is played at such a high speed and requiring a countless number of changes indirection, it is vital that you are able to slow your body down quickly. His feet in a standing position, indicate that he doesn’t do this well.
This means disaster for the jumping, landing, stopping and going he does. In a way it would be similar to building a house on mud instead of concrete. So how did this happen?
Unfortunately, it is partly the nature of his business. Without further assessment, we can bet his calf muscles are tight as can be. I mean, his sport requires a whole lot of stopping, starting, and explosive jumping. The traditional thought is that your “springs” to jump higher live in your calf muscles. While this may be true, tightening them up poses some structural issues.
The calf muscles starts behind the leg and attaches underneath the foot. When it gets too tight in relation to the muscles on the front of the leg, your toes will turn out as seen in the pictures above. Curiously enough, tight calf muscles prevent us from squatting deeply without going to our toes, also seen in the above pictures.
So is this the answer? His overworked calf muscles have decreased his ability to stop his knee effectively and ultimately led to an ACL tear?
Well, maybe. I mean it contributes, for sure.
But the source of his injury could even go farther back in his history than that.
When I started this research project, I didn’t just google Derrick Rose Bare Feet, I wanted to learn everything I possibly could about his NBA injury history. I learned that in February of 2010 he missed some games for a strained neck. This got me looking at his head.
Right away, I noticed that his head would jut forward. Most people don’t realize how much stress this put’s on the body. Actually, try this assignment:
Stand up, wherever you are at. Put your feet together and lean as far forward as possible without falling over. Now, try again, but pay attention to your feet, Can you feel how hard they are working as a last line of defense. That is what is happening when your head is leading the way.
You might have also felt a burning sensation in your thighs. Again, here is another example of muscles fatiguing from trying to prevent a losing battle against gravity.
So combining our thoughts from above we now can see how the muscles above and below his blown out knee have been taxed, not just on a basketball court, but in every step he takes.