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Technology and Expertise Keeps Local Runners on the Road

By: Lucas Martin MSPT, OCS and Willem Verweij DPT, COMT

Running is a popular form of exercise that may increase many aspects of wellbeing, including cardiovascular health, bone density, strength, as well as mental health.

According to Running USA, road race finishers have more than tripled since 1990. In 1990 4.8 million runners completed a road race anywhere from a 5K to a marathon. By 2012 this had grown to an astounding 15.5 million finishers!

No matter the race, pace, or training, all of this running can come at a price. Injuries can happen as we push our bodies to go longer, faster, or more frequently. An estimated 75% of runners will be sidelined by an injury at some point in their lives. Common injuries range from knee, ankle, hip, and low back pain to shin splints and plantar fasciitis.

Doing too much too soon may cause these injuries, but all too often there is an underlying problem that makes a runner more vulnerable to injury. This explains why "taking some time off from running" or "running through it" (does that sound familiar?) will not necessarily do the trick. Without figuring out what the root of the problem is your efforts are destined to have temporary results or fail completely.

Understanding, treating, and preventing running injuries has long been a challenge for medical professionals. Did you ever watch someone walking with a limp and attempted to guess what his or her problem is? (No? Maybe it's just us. We can't stop ourselves). Now imagine doing that for a runner. In walking, the foot contacts the ground for about 0.6 seconds. In running, the foot is on the ground for less than 0.2 seconds. The naked eye is simply unable to process all the visual information in this short amount of time. Fortunately, Physical Therapists now have the help of cutting edge video software that records your run from multiple viewpoints. This software also allows for slow motion playback and "freezing" your motion to analyze key positions (did you ever look at one of your race photos wondering about your form? Imagine being able to do exactly that, but with the ability to freeze the motion at ANY time!). Subtle, or not-so-subtle changes in your running gait can now all be easily viewed and saved for a "before" and "after" comparison. But more importantly, it will help the therapist identify the root of your problem whether this is tightness, weakness, excessive mobility, over striding, aggressive heel striking, poor posture, or a combination of different factors.

If you are a runner of any level and have been bothered by pain that will not go away, you should consider consulting a Physical Therapist who specializes in running injuries.

Physical Therapists at Willem Verweij & Associates Physical Therapy utilize a combination of specialty training, hands-on care, and video technology to create a customized plan for their running clients. Don't run with pain – RUN HAPPY!

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