I've posted before about exercises for runners, but as I start upping my own mileage in hopes of completing a half marathon in May, I'm already starting to feel some aches and pains...so what's a girl to do?
Recently, my PT class had a guest lecturer who is a physical therapist who specializes in running patterns and injury. Of course, I was engaged even more than average because everything she talked about included things that I myself could work on. Let's just say I was a little more interested in this lecture than the infectious skin disease lecture (that doesn't mean it's any less important!).
Anyways, I thought I'd share some of the information I found very useful. Just as a disclaimer, I am not by any means an expert on running or gait- heck I still have 2 years until I can call myself a licensed physical therapist, so I'm just relaying information from an experienced, specialized physical therapist in OSU's system.
"Fun Fact" #1- 50% of runners will be injured annually
Why does running tend to cause more injury than walking?
Running is a repetitive motion that requires you to be on only one leg at a time- never two. If you have any type of asymmetry in just walking or standing, running will exacerbate and make that asymmetry more obvious- leading to injury.
"Fun Fact" #2- Knees are the most common joint to be injured in runners
Are there risk factors for running injuries?
- History of previous injury
- High weekly mileage (>20-40 miles/ week)
- Varied increases in weekly mileage
- Increased body mass (puts more force through joints)
- Heel striker
- Long strides- more bouncing in your run- muscles/ bones have to absorb more shock
- Downhill running
What mileage is good for one pair of running shoes?
The numbers vary based on who you ask, but typically 300-500 miles per pair of shoes is acceptable before injury may be apparent.
What are some injuries runners incur?
- Iliotibial band syndrome
- Posterior Tibialis Tendonopathy
- Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints)
- Plantar fasciitis
- Hamstring strains
- Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
- Stress fractures
- Achilles Tendonopathy
- Anterior Compartment Syndrome
- Femoral Acetabular Impingement (FAI)
- Low back Pain
What muscles are commonly weak in runners? (Meaning, work these guys!)
- Hip Abductors
- Vastus Medialis (part of quadriceps)
- Abdominals- Rectus, Transverse Abdominis
What can I do on my next run to aid in the prevention of running injuries?
- Increase your cadence- steps per minute...this isn't necessarily your speed but take shorter, quicker steps
- Try to stay upright, engage the core
- Try not to let your knees come close to each other in the midline
- Don't cross your arms in front of your body too much as you run (less motion in the upper body)
- Look straight ahead
What exercise should I start with/ what's the best?
Single Leg Squat- targets the gluts wonderfully
- Stand on one leg- hands on hips or at sides or out in front
- Lift the opposite leg off the ground slightly
- Place lifted limb either in front or slightly behind you
- Lower down to the ground without letting your stance knee go over your toes and without letting the free leg come behind the stance limb
- Lower down as far as possible without falling over, and stand back up
- I'd recommend 3 sets of 10 repetitions- maybe every other day
I'm sure I'll have more to come on running injuries! Not only do they apply specifically to one of my great loves, but I think it will make me a better PT one day as I sort of do my own research into this topic!
Niemuth P, Johnson R, Myers M, Thieman T. Hip Muscle Weakness and Overuse Injuries in Recreational Runners. Clinical Journal Of Sport Medicine[serial online]. January 2005;15(1):14-21. Available from: SPORTDiscus with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed March 1, 2013.