September marks the beginning of the fall running season. Smoke-filled skies will soon give way to clear, frost-covered mornings. While fall offers some of Missoula’s best running conditions, nine months of running miles often results in fall aches and pains. Lower extremity running injuries impact 19% to 79% of runners. Factors which lead to an increased incidence of running injury include a significant increase in running distance, terrain, or pace, a change in overall body composition or strength, and a lack of adequate recovery or rest following a workout or race.
When running-related pain develops, it is important to determine whether the pain symptom is the result of an underlying weakness and/or a mechanical problem located elsewhere in the body. The running body in motion is subjected to multidirectional forces. Our body’s ability to dissipate excess force, minimize impact force, and transfer these multidirectional forces into forward running progress determines our running efficiency. Evaluating a runner’s efficiency through video evaluation is an excellent way to determine potential injury-causing compensations to improve running efficiency.
Sapphire Physical Therapy offers video running evaluation which allows runners to watch themselves run in slow motion. A physical therapist will point out any running gait deviations and explain how such deviations may lead to or be the underlying cause of running-related pain. An August, 2015 study in the Orthopedic Journal of Physical Therapy reviewed 974 studies to determine whether or not visual feedback (in the form of video analysis, visual feedback) and verbal feedback are effective in improving running mechanics. The study confirmed that both visual feedback and verbal cues are effective in modifying running mechanics. The key to an effective and useful running video analysis lies in the ability of the physical therapist to detect running gait deviations and translate those into simple cues to be used while running. Running injury treatment and prevention simply makes more sense when pain, weakness, and running video compensation can be related to one another.
Below are several examples of simple verbal cues which may be utilized based on possible running gait compensations based on a video running evaluation. Contact John with any questions or comments and learn more about our comprehensive running and physical therapy services at www.sapphirept.com.
* Shorten your stride length
* Increase your running cadence
* Land with your foot beneath you
* Allow your hip to extend using your gluts
* Incorporate your big toe while pushing off
* Relax your upper body and breathe
John Fiore, PT
Sapphire Physical Therapy
Agresta C, Brown A. Gait Retraining for Injured and Healthy Runners Using Augmented Feedback: A Systematic Literature Review. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2015;45(8):576-585. doi:10.2519/jospt.2015.0503