It doesn’t matter whether you are running for cardiovascular fitness, weight loss, stress relief, or to prepare for a race. A running assessment can be beneficial for runners of all abilities and help you prevent injuries, run more efficiently, and run faster. Many studies have shown that 60 to 80% of runners have a running-related injury over the course of one year.
Most running injuries are not the result of an acute or sudden event. Instead, they usually result from repetitive microtrauma and overuse. Most of us have some imbalances in our gait or differences in strength or flexibility from one side to another. Usually, our bodies compensate for these imbalances for long periods. Over time, these imbalances lead to biomechanical stress on different muscles, tendons, or joints and can lead to injury and pain.
Many injuries result from training errors as well, which could involve:
• increasing mileage too quickly,
• running too many hills,
• not taking rest days,
• not preparing our bodies in terms of overall strength, flexibility, or endurance.
Common running injuries involve the knees or ankles, IT Band (iliotibial band), shin splints, plantar fasciitis, hip, or back pain.
When you have a running assessment, your physical therapist goes over your health history, injury history, and running routine regarding frequency, distance, and surfaces. She also looks at your footwear to check your wear pattern and type of shoe you are running in. A running assessment also involves examining your lower extremity strength, core stability, flexibility, and balance.
Finally, your therapist also looks at your running form. Video of you running on a treadmill with views from the side and back shows how your body is lining up when you’re running. She’ll be able to see how much lean you have, how stable your pelvis and hips are during running, what the angles in your hips, knees, and ankles are during different parts of your gait, and your cadence, stride length, and a few other things.
By analyzing this information and the physical examination results, we can pinpoint biomechanical issues that have contributed to injuries in the past or may lead to injuries in the future.
Based on this information, your therapist will make recommendations for any corrective exercises needed to address flexibility, strength, or agility issues. She can also make recommendations if a change in footwear, training patterns, or running form would be helpful. Some hands-on Physical Therapy treatments may be recommended for runners with acute injuries or longstanding pain to get you on the right track.
The recommendations resulting from your running assessment will give you the tools you need to prevent injuries and improve your form. Once you have had some time to implement those tools, we will schedule a follow-up visit to check your progress toward your goals.
Frequently just implementing a few changes in your training program or addressing imbalances with a couple of exercises can go a long way in allowing you to run happy and healthy.
A running assessment can be beneficial for runners of all abilities. If you’re interested in a running assessment, visit us here to sign up.