Why do runners get injured?

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Research suggests that the rate of injuries experienced by runners can be anything up to 80%. But if we were made to run then why is the incidence of injuries so high?

Running demands greater muscle strength, greater balance and greater joint range of movement than walking. The key difference between running and walking is that there is less contact time with the floor during running, due to a ‘double float’ phase where neither foot is in contact with the floor which allows us to cover distance at greater speed. This means however that there is a greater amount of force applied to your body on impact with the ground during every stride which must be absorbed when landing on a single leg.

The main structures which work as shock absorbers during running are the achilles tendon, the plantar fascia, the quadriceps, the knee and the hip abductors – which no surprise are the structures most likely to be injured during long distance running, with knee injuries being the most common.

Increasing running speed or distance is one of the main pre-disposers to injury, especially if done over a short period of time. Running faster or for longer increases the total forces absorbed by the body during running, which can cause overload of tissues. It is suggested that running over 40 miles per week also increases risk of injury due to higher sustained load. Other risk factors include previous injury, lack of running experience, running to compete and poor technique.

With poor running technique comes alterations to biomechanics making a less efficient running gait pattern, which in itself can increase injury risk. This includes patterns such as over-striding, excessive pelvic drop, cross over gait, anterior pelvic tilting or upper body compensations, and may be due to muscle weakness, muscle activation problems or reduced range of movement, or incorrect training for the load required.

We can use functional biomechanical analysis to identify any inefficiencies in running gait pattern which may be increasing your risk of injury. This involves a treadmill assessment using Dartfish software, followed by a movement analysis screen. After picking up on any kinetic chain alterations or muscle dysfunction, we will create a personalised exercise program in order to focus on specific areas for your needs, as well as advising on running technique, and giving you coaching tips that will help to ensure you are running with a more efficient style.

For more information on functional biomechanical analysis, please give us a call on 01302 321245.

About Chapman Physiotherapy

At Chapman Physiotherapy Ltd we pride ourselves on offering a first class physiotherapy service in South Yorkshire. Based in Doncaster, our easily accessible location provides full disabled facilities and appointments are available from early morning to late evening.