Improving Running Form Can Reduce Injuries

Running is an enjoyable form of exercise that can help with cardiovascular health and general well being.  Beginners often initiate a program because it is a low cost form of exercise that can be performed outdoors or on a treadmill.  More advanced runners often compete in 5k’s, half marathons, and marathons which requires more intense training.

According to a recent study nearly 80% of runners will sustain a running related injury in any given year.  These numbers suggest that faulty running mechanics and/or footwear could be to blame. Below are some of the most common running mechanical flaws:

Overpronation:  Landing on a flat foot can cause Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and anterior knee pain.  Often a custom orthotic and/or proper footwear can help correct overpronation. Runners should focus on proper push off with the big toe to avoid overpronation.

Excessive hip drop: Weakness in the lateral hip muscles (gluteus medius and minimus) can cause an excessive hip drop on the opposite side while running.  Common conditions associated with excessive hip drop are IT Band syndrome, hip bursitis and anterior knee pain. Performing side leg lifts and/or side planks can help strengthen the gluteus medius and decrease hip drop.

Overstriding and heel strike:  Runners can decrease the forces through their lower extremites by landing more on midfoot or forefoot and thus decreasing the amount of time spent in weight bearing.  Additionally, increasing cadence diminishes overstriding. Common problems associated with overstriding include shin splints and stress fractures.

Excessive hip internal rotation:  Runners who feel their knees rubbing together during running may have excessive hip internal rotation.  This can lead to IT band syndrome, hip bursitis, and anterior knee pain. To decrease this mechanical flaw runners should strengthen the lateral gluteal muscles (Gluteus medius and minimus).

A proper running assessment can help a runner understand any mechanical flaws that may be at play and their likelihood for a running related injury.  The physical therapists at PT 360 are trained to assess your running mechanics and determine your risk. We will film you running on our treadmill and provide feedback on how you can become a more efficient runner and reduce your chance of injury.

Call to schedule your running assessment today at 678-430-8107.

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