Runners often present to Up & Active Physiotherapy with injuries to their lower limbs. Over the past 15 years I have treated a number of runners and today I am going to discuss with you why running isn’t a balanced exercise and often leads to injury.
The first error is most often from training load errors, followed closely by muscle imbalance and then we can consider footwear.
Training error relates to the principal of overload. When you do too much, too soon, or suddenly increase the number of training days per week, you are prone to overloading structures which causes inflammation and pain. The answer to this is not complete rest but to work out your tolerance level and slowly build from this stage. This allows us not to peak too soon and crash quickly causing recovery to take too long which keeps you off the road.
Muscle imbalance. Most often the muscles around the pelvis ( aka glutes) and knee tend to become weak, our pelvis drops and leg tends to cross the midline. The buttock muscles and quadricep muscles are responsible to help keep the pelvis stable and knee tracking in line with the 2nd toe. Therefore because running requires single leg strength and control we must ensure our strength program includes exercises to address these common weaknesses.
Footwear- Footwear is often blamed for injury however injury isn’t usually a direct result of the incorrect shoe. Everyones natural gait pattern differs and people range from heel strike to mid foot and forefoot strikers. There is not one specific strike pattern that you should aspire to do as different strike patterns put different load on different parts of the body. However when you buy new shoes always ensure your shoe has 1 cm in length from your longest toe. This prevents black toe nails and blisters.
What are the best 3 strength exercises for runners?
- Calf raises : straight knee calf raises and bent knee calf raises
- Crab walk with theraband around ankles
- Single leg squats
If you are experiencing any niggling injuries or feel you may benefit from a running assessment call Up & Active Physiotherapy on 0746131394 to book an appointment to see one of the highly experienced team of physiotherapists today.