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Breakthru to Injury-Free Running!

In 2015, a total of 17 million runners completed a road race. With frequency of running injuries reported by literature being 19 to 92% of runners, how can we maximize your ability to run without pain?1
A study was performed in 2014 where runners were asked why they believe they are getting injured so frequently. The most common factors that runners believed were the cause of injuries were not stretching, training errors, wearing the wrong running shoe, running technique, and lack of strength.2  All of these factors seem to be a huge piece for remaining healthy as a runner, however one is more important than them all, can you guess which one?
If you skipped over lack of flexibility, or not stretching as being a reason why runners get injured, you get the fortune to guess again. A recent systematic review of randomized controlled trials has shown that there is no correlation in stretching being an activity that protects runners from injury. 2
Running technique is another very popular topic in the sport, especially when it comes to how we land. Should we be landing on our rear-foot, our mid-foot, or our fore-foot? Different landing patterns stress muscles differently, overusing some while underusing others, however this aspect of running is not the greatest reason that runners are getting injured.
Choice of running shoe is one of the most popular topics when talking in the running community. This will be covered in further discussion, so for the time being, this is not the greatest cause of injury in runners.
Various studies have shown that the most common way a runner gets injured is due to making errors in training. Runners that are doing too much, too soon, or running too fast from week to week, are putting themselves at great risk for injury. In a study of 873 runners, 202 runners sustained an injury when progressing their weekly mileage greater than 30% over a two week period.2
Some of the most common injuries that can be experienced when increasing your pace are achilles tendinopathy, hamstring strains, iliopsoas strains, stress fractures, and plantar fasciitis. Some common injuries that are experienced when increasing distance too quickly are patellofemoral syndrome, iliotibial band syndrome, patellar tendinopathy, medial tibial stress syndrome, and gluteus medius strain. 3
If you have been experiencing any pain with running or after running, it is important to meet with your physical therapist. Please continue to look out for future information regarding the current literature behind what keeps us running.

-Dr. Dan Pinto PT, DPT

 

References:
Van Gent et al. Incidence and determinants of lower extremity running injuries in long distance runners: a systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2007; 41(8) Saragiotto B Yamato T, Dias Lopes A, What Do Recreational Runners Think About Risk Factors for Running Injuries? A Descriptive Study of Their Beliefs and Opinions. JOSPT 2014 44(10)Nielsen et al. Classifying Running-Related Injuries Based Upon Etiology, With Emphasis on Volume and Pace. IJSPT 2013 8(2).