Injuries impact nearly 80% of all runners at some point (Br J Sports Med 2007). While some runners rarely miss a training run or race due to injury, many experience a variety of injuries and/or recurrent injuries. The key to effectively treating and preventing running injuries lies in effectively determining the cause of injury rather than treating the effect or symptoms alone.
The strongest predictors of of running injury include a prior history of running injury, running throughout the year without a break, and a rapid increase in running mileage of >10% per week (Br J Sports Med 2007).

Once compensatory movement patterns are addressed through a comprehensive physical therapy evaluation, underlying strength and mobility deficits can be effectively addressed.
If you are looking to improve your running efficiency or are plagued by nagging or recurrent running injuries, a running analysis is a great place to start. Sapphire PT has four physical therapists trained in running analysis. Sapphire PT provides on-site, real-time 2D running gait analysis. We are excited to provide this informative, interactive, diagnostic technology in our Missoula PT clinic. While an iPhone or iPad is capable of recording treadmill running for basic analysis, high-speed camera technology and interpretive software are necessary to objectively quantify joint angles quality of movement. Utilizing 2D video running analysis during a physical
therapy evaluation takes the guesswork out of determining the underlying cause of movement inefficiency and/or injury. Sapphire PT uses the Simi Aktisys 2D running analysis system. Developed in Germany, the Simi Aktisys software records joint angles along the frontal (anterior and posterior views) and sagittal (side) planes of motion as a person runs. Planes of movement and joint ankles (ankle, knee, hip, trunk) are recorded and observed as a person runs. The software analyses the measured video data and an easy to read, usable PDF
report is produced for the runner and physical therapist. Colored LED markers on key body landmarks are read by two high-speed cameras which provide real-time feedback for both the runner and the physical therapist. We also utilize the Run Scribe accelerometer system which accurately measures impact force, pronation angle, pronation velocity. Accelerometer data often reveals compensations for pain, prior injury, or weakness and is used in conjunction with our 2D video system.

Once a compensatory movement pattern is recorded, the runner can return to the treadmill and make changes in his or her running mechanics while observing themselves in real-time on the monitor screen. Coupled with a wireless EMG (electromyography) system, runners can then focus on strengthening weak muscles which play a role in their unique running compensation. Walking biomechanics is fairly universal in healthy individuals, but running biomechanics is diverse and very difficult to accurately assess visually or with a hand-held recording device. The Sapphire Physical Therapy staff looks forward to helping Missoula runners improve their running efficiency and determining the underlying cause of recurrent injuries.

Running analysis is useful for healthy athletes as well by improving running efficiency. Our website ( has a complete list of our running services. Call Sapphire Physical Therapy (549-5283) to schedule your video running analysis or email me ( for additional information.

John Fiore, PT