Category Archives: Running

How Physical Therapy Helps Runners: An Inside Look

Physical therapy helps runners train better, run harder, and avoid injury.

Physical therapy helps runners achieve a PR and avoid injury.

With every strike of your shoe on the pavement, you’re reminded of all the miles you’ve traveled. You’ve run many miles and put up with the blisters, bruised toenails, chaffing, and stiffness. However, you’ve been feeling a sharp pain in your knee that’s been lingering for the past few runs. You shrug it off as just another pain you have to endure as a runner. However, with every step, it keeps getting worse. Perhaps you should’ve listened to your friend you recommended you to slow down training, but you just couldn’t help yourself. After all, you’re a runner – it’s what you do best.

However, you start to wonder nonetheless if there was something you could’ve done to avoid the pain. The answer is usually yes, says Sarah Getty, a physical therapist at OSR Physical Therapy who specializes in helping runners.

Physical Therapy Helps Runners Avoid Injury

Although not entirely avoidable, you can prevent many running injuries with the right training plan and form. Physical therapists are trained in biomechanics. This means they know how the body should move and how much the body can take before breaking down. They can spot the weaknesses, which are potential risks of injury. Those weaknesses and improper form can cause injury, so focusing on those things can help prevent it, says Getty.

Getty has been a physical therapist for over eight years and has been specializing in helping runners and triathletes. A runner and triathlete herself, Getty has helped runners and triathletes recovery from injuries. She’s also helped prevent injuries through an in-depth running analysis.

“I’ve seen patients that were injured because they were running, or because they were injured and wanted to get back to running,” says Getty, who’s been at OSR for just over two years. “Or, someone will seek me out because they just want to become more efficient. In any case, I will professionally look at them and make sure that they’re running in the most efficient way possible.”

Running Analysis And Efficiency

What is running analysis, and how can help runners and triathletes?

A running analysis can be done for injury recovery, injury prevention, and even to become a better runner, according to Getty.

“I’ll look at a runner’s ankle through their knee and hip, and measure out the joint angles. Then, I’ll notice what’s correct and what’s wrong or weak,” says Getty. “I’ll analyze how they’re running, including their foot strike and even their arm swing.” Foot strike includes cadence – or how fast you’re putting your foot on the ground.

Gate Retraining – What Is It?

If you’re over-striding, which Getty says is one of the biggest leaders to running injury, the answer is to change the stride. Changing the stride, or someone’s strike cadence, is called gate retraining and is done with a metronome timer.

“If a runner is seeing me already for an injury, then we’ll do the gate analysis towards the end of the treatment,” says Getty. “Gate retraining depends on the runner and how long you’ve been running. A novice runner is more moldable and so picks it up easier than a runner that’s been running for a long time.”

OSR’s Running Clinic

Whether you’re currently experiencing pain or want to do better in injury prevention, then a running and gate analysis is extremely beneficial. Physical therapists do more than just injury rehabilitation and can help you achieve your personal record in your next race. Physical therapy helps runners through injury prevention as well as rehabilitation.

Twice a year, OSR hosts a free running clinic led by running specialist Sarah Getty. Other than the free running clinic, runners – whether novice or experienced – can contact one of our locations for a running analysis with one of our running specialists.

Running Tips From Physical Therapists And Athletic Trainers

Beating your PR is more than just packing on the miles. These six running tips will help you be a better runner.

Whether you’re a seasoned runner or new to the road, there’s always something new to learn. Physical therapists and athletic trainers are in the forefront of training safely and participating in physical activities such as running. If you want to improve your race time or simply prevent an injury, here are six running tips from OSR’s physical therapists and athletic trainers.

1. Be Prepared As Best You Can With Strengthening

It’s impossible to prevent injury 100% of the time, says athletic trainer Kyle McCuskey. However, you can try and be prepared as best as you can with strengthening. Furthermore, you can make sure that the biomechanics of the lower leg are working correctly. This means the right alignment and form is happening, and that the muscles are able to support correctly.

2. Listen To Your Body And Treat Your Pain

Even if you don’t think you’re injured, if your pain is enough to keep you from running you should get someone to look at it, says physical therapist Matt Gannott. It’s never too early to seek physical therapy or help for your pain. In fact, the earlier the better, he says: “It makes it so much easier to treat.”

3. Don’t Overload Yourself With Training

Abby Johnson has been a certified athletic trainer for five years. She’s seen multiple injuries – from head to toe. With years of experience, what is the number one piece of advice she has for runners and athletes in general?

“Educating yourself well and make sure you’re staying in shape and not overloading [or over training] yourself too much,” Abby says. “If you start to notice a lingering pain or a pain that intensifies to a good degree then seek help from a healthcare professional.”

Furthermore, it’s important to listen to your body and to take a break, slow down, decrease your intensity, or seek help if the pain lingers or even worsens.

4. Strengthen Your Stabilizing Muscles

To avoid injury and run your best, Jason Kopp suggests focusing on strengthening your stabilizing muscles. These muscles include the hips, which help stabilize the knee and ankle, says Kopp, who has been an athletic trainer for five years. If you do that, while focusing on form, alignment, and stride, you can continue running into your later years without breaking down, he said.

5. When Your Body Says Stop, Stop

Nate Tellers is the Director of Athletic Training Services for OSR Physical Therapy. His biggest piece of advice for avoiding injury is to stop when your body says stop.

“For example, if you have swelling your knee, it’s not a good idea participate in an activity. This is because the brain interprets that swelling as an injury and your brain will shut down your knee,” Tellers says. “And that’s why you’ll hear kids coming out and saying, ‘my knee just gave way out there.’ Well, something underlying was taking place and now your knee gave way and buckled and led to a larger injury.”

Being in tuned to your body is essential for injury prevention. In fact, Tellers added, “You should be able to differentiate soreness pain from a pain that could cause an injury. If you can do that, you can avoid injury.”

6. Go In With An Open Mindset

Whether you’re starting out on a training run or at the starting line of a race, it’s important to go into it with an open mindset, says Sarah Getty, who has been a physical therapist for over 8 years. Sarah Getty specializes in running and even hosts a free running clinic twice a year. The clinic offers runners an opportunity to learn more about injury prevention, strengthening and training techniques, running analysis, and the opportunity to run on the alter-G machine.

It’s essential to not start too fast and to pace yourself to avoid early burnout and injury. Then, when you’re done with your race or your training run, continue to hydrate well with lots and water. Getty also added to continue walking and do a proper cooldown to avoid the post-race or post-workout pain and muscle strain.

OSR Offers More Than Just Running Tips

OSR Physical Therapy does more than just offer running tips. From running analysis to injury rehabilitation, our physical therapists and athletic trainers can help you become a better runner. Contact one of our offices to set up a free consultation with one of our running specialists.

All about running with OSR Part 3 – AlterG

In the last couple of weeks we have been talking about running assessments, exercises and fun apps.

Running Part 1
Running Part 2
Nike +
Nike Fuel

This week we want to showcase the AlterG treadmill.  It is a great way to exercise and run while injured, working on form or as a break from the cold.  The AlterG treadmill is always free to try, so let us know if your interested.

Here is a breakdown of our new AlterG membership options

Here are a couple of videos of our AlterG in action:

Running Apps

There are many wonderful apps out there for everything from tracking running and activity, to tempo runs, to cadence beats.

I was pretty excited to find this free App that tracks runs or other activity by using your Smart phone as a monitor:

What are your favorite apps? What do you use them for? Leave us a comment and we will share it!

All about Running with OSR Part 2

Last week we learned all about the AlterG and Dartfish plus how we use them at OSR.  This week we are going to give you a little peek at some of the exercises we might recommend for you to do if you need help with your running form.

This first exercise is called bosu hops.  It is an advanced exercise for core, ankle, knee and hip strength.

This next video is Unilateral Twist with a band.  This exercise also has a large emphasis on core strength with ankle, knee and hip stability. 

Lastly this Hip Flexion exercise is a great way to work on hip strength and speed!

We also have a whole youtube channel devoted to running exercises and ideas.  Feel free to watch that as well!
OSR Running Channel

Hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about running!  If you have a sport that we should blog about please let us know.

All about Running with OSR

Are you a runner looking for some ideas on how to gain strength, minimize injury and increase performance this winter?

When a runner comes through our doors we will work with them on many different tasks.  Just about every time they are hoping to gain strength, minimize injury and increase performance.  Luckily, we have different tools to know exactly what they should/should not be doing to achieve their goals.

One tool is our AlterG treadmill.  You can run at as little as 20% of your body weight.  It is a great way to keep endurance up while injured, work on form and reduce overuse injuries.

Here is a video of our AlterG treadmill in use:

Look for our AlterG running packages to come out soon.  We also offer a 10 minute free trial to anyone who wants to try it out.

Another tool we have is Dartfish.  It is a great way to analyze running and see things our eyes miss when just looking at running form without assistance.

Here is some education around Dartfish:

We have a great holiday special running with Dartfish.  Here is a link to our specials.

Next week we will showcase some different exercises we do with patients at OSR after we utilize the above tools to find their weaknesses and limitations.

Runner’s Webinar

One of our community partners, 2B Running, will be offering a webinar on Monday 12/3 at 8 PM CST. Topics covered will include:

  • Stride Rate
  • Stride Length
  • Running Economy
  • Injury Prevention
  • Drills & Exercises to address all of the above

Here is a link for registration. The webinar will be recorded and sent to those who cannot attend at the time it is offered. For questions, please contact 2B Running via email:

Nutrition for Runners

Nutrient timing and the mentality in approaching a race are huge factors that determine the success of a runner. Here is a free replay of a webinar by professional endurance coach Scott Welle.