Running and Load Management
Running is an amazing sport for many reasons. The health benefits, both physically and psychosocially are too numerous to count. Too many times however runners experience injuries that could be avoided or minimised.
Load management is key for runners. When the running load is increased too quickly, either in terms of frequency of runs, duration of runs or type of surface, the runner becomes predisposed to injury. The muscles and joints in the body that take the brunt of the impact from running need time to acclimatise to running volume.
What Are The Common Injuries For Runners?
Due to the load placed on the body with running, various structures in the lower limb can break down. Normally running injuries are associated with a sudden change in running volume, running frequency or running intensity.
Some common running injuries include:
- Plantar Fasciitis and other sources of heel pain.
- Runners knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome)
- Hip flexor strain
- Shin splints (Medial tibial stress syndrome)
These are all injuries associated with poor load management. On top of this, runners can also be prone to ankle sprains.
How Can Chiropractors Help Runners?
Like we discussed earlier, a lot of running injuries are associated with poor load management. Helping runners very often involves looking at and talking about their training programme to understand why the pain started.
Chiropractic treatment is a very effective way to allow the joints and muscles in the lower limb to load in a more efficient way. For example, if a runner has a stiff ankle, perhaps from a previous ankle sprain injury, the shin muscles in the same leg won’t be able to load up as efficiently as the other side. This runner would therefore have to compensate higher up in the body, perhaps with greater hamstring activity or low back muscle activity. This runner would therefore become prone to hamstring or low back injuries, and the first step in treating them would be to improve their ankle mobility.
Through hands on treatment and a structured exercise programme, chiropractic care can help runners get out of pain, reduce their risk of injury as well as improve their performance and running efficiency.
What Treatment Do We Use For Runners?
The treatment we use really depends on the issues that the person in front of us is experiencing. Although there are common injuries that runners experience, every runner is unique just like each person is unique. The most important step of the process is a thorough assessment to fully understand where the pain or problem may be coming from.
The runners that we work with tend to respond very well to a combination of spinal and extremity joint adjustments, particularly the pelvis, foot and ankle. On top of this we often use a variety of soft tissue release techniques so that the runners we work with can perform at the highest level.