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Running Injuries – Prevention

By Nicholas Wood. Chiropractor and Runner @ HealthSpace

A huge 65% of runners experience an injury annually. The incidence in those training for marathon can be as high as 90%.

The most common areas for these injuries are the knee (41%), foot and ankle (17%), lower leg (13%) and the achillies tendon (6.5%). Treatment for these injuries is usually relatively straight forward, the factor affecting the prognosis the most is usually the length of time the injury has been present. Treatment usually involves Dry Needling, Active release, Trigger point release, PNF stretching, Joint mobilisations and manipulations, myofaccial releases and control of the inflammation.

As with all injuries, prevention is way better than cure. So whether you want to prevent your first running injury or you’re are being treated at the moment and want to make a comeback and prevent another reoccurrence, there are a few key factors you need to consider.

One of the most important factors to be aware of is the transient peak impact. Landing posture affects this primarily not footwear. Although shoe companies want you to believe that the shoes are the key to absorbing impact, in fact they are often a contributing factor to the problem. Landing posture is not just a foot issue. Landing posture involves the entire kinematic chain from the foot, to the tibia (shin), fibula, knee, hip, sacrum, lumbar spine and then the contralateral thoracic spine and shoulder.

Dynamic functional testing is one of the keys when working with runners. Static postural alignment has little to do with injury treatment and prevention. Midfoot ground contact verses rearfoot contact, braking impulse, 1st toes extention and muscle activation sequences all need to be evaluated. A complete orthopeadic exam with muscle activation testing and a functional movement screen are the basics. This should then be followed by a running evaluation that is often done on a treadmill.

There is no doubt that running at all levels is increasing in popularity and as the number of people participating increase so do the volume of injuries. For simple injuries most sports and manual therapists will be very effective at helping. However, with the complicated and reoccurring injuries seeing a running specific practitioner is the best way to get it sorted out.

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