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.