Did you know that running is increasing in popularity for all ages? There are many more events (5K, 10K, ½ and full marathons) available to participate in and more participants in these events. That coupled with the research, showing that up to 70% of runners get injured each year, shows the importance of proper mechanics when you are running. There are many theories and techniques for running and it is important that if you are changing your style of running, your shoes, or your gait mechanics you need to ease into and practice your new technique in order to reduce your risk of injury.
The following all increase your risk of injury with running:
- Running > 5 days/week, or < 2 days/week
- > 10% volume increase in a week (total mileage)
- > 40 miles per week
- Shoes that have >500 miles total,
- cadence too slow <170 steps/min (count 1 foot strike for 30 sec x 4)
Most running injuries include pain in the knee, hip, ankle, or foot. Common issues include patellofemoral syndrome, iliotibial band pain, medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints), achilles tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis. Once you have pain or an injury the tendency to compensate in your body mechanics increases and causes other issues or injuries to occur. It is important to take care of any injury and get back to full strength before returning to a running program.
What is a running assessment?
A full running assessment includes a video taped session of your running gait mechanics from different angles, that is analyzed and broken down in each phase of your running pattern, to identify where you are at risk of injury and what we can correct to reduce that risk. It also includes giving you the proper tools (strengthening exercises, stretches, practice drills for re-training proper form and mechanics) you need to avoid injury or recover from an injury. I also find that most runners need hip, quadricep, hamstring, and abdominal strengthening with proper gradual progression of exercises to build max strength with keeping balanced flexibility. Single leg training for stability and balance is also beneficial. This is exactly what an Active physical therapist or athletic trainer can do for you. All levels of runners can benefit from gait assessment in order to achieve your best (PR) time or just enjoy your sport injury free.
We at Active Physical Therapy are here to help you become the best runner you can be.