Running (and walking) is a great form of exercise and is one of the best things you can do to keep healthy. Someone once said “I have 2 doctors, my right leg and left leg.” However if you have poor form, which is common, it creates unnecessary stress on your body leading to pain and injury.
Running places 3 times our body weight onto our joints with each step. For a 150lb person, that means 450lbs. When we have problems with tightness, weakness or poor form, we are unable to control that force placing excess stress on our body. When you think we take 1672 steps for every 10 minutes of running this can be a lot of stress.
2 of the most common form faults we see are due to tightness and weakness in the foot/ankle and hips. First our feet were designed to be strong as they are the first contact with the ground. However, in modern society, we get dependent on shoes which mean our feet muscles do not have to work. Many people in fact have no idea how to move their feet muscles. Try moving your big toe sideways. Having weak feet muscles results in an unstable platform causing the rest of our body to get out of alignment. This causes compensatory movements in the legs creating common problems like heel and knee pain and tendinitis/bursitis.
The other common fault we find is weakness in the butt muscles. The power muscle in our legs is the gluteals. Because we are a society of sitters and don’t squat much, they get weak. This causes our hips to sway and rotate (think model walk) requiring other muscles (knees and back) to work harder to realign them. This is one of the reasons knee arthritis and low back pain is so common. This also means we have to work harder and expend more energy affecting our performance.
So how can we improve our running and walking? Breaking down your form through video analysis can help. In real speed it’s hard to see everything that’s going on but with the use of technology, we can analyze your form frame by frame and identify faults in your gait. In the hands of a physical therapist, we can then assess your whole body and identify fixed you can implement to improve your form and performance.
At FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers, we use video analysis to help our clients to find faults that may be causing them pain or injury. Our expert team is trained to not only spot the problems but knows how to fix them in order to have you running or walking as efficiently as you can.
October in National Physical Therapy Month and FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers are offering a discounted Video Analysis for runners (or walkers) of only $50. Just mention this article for the discount. Your insurance may even pay for it.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 570-501-1808. For more information, visit www.hazletonpt.com or catch our TV show on WYLN “Wellness through FYZICAL Therapy”.