Tag Archives: runner

Running Injury Prevention Strategies Part 1

Running has become one of the most common forms of physical activity in today’s society. It can be a community building activity, a personal challenge and most importantly a great work out. It is a sport that everyone can participate in; all you need is a good pair of shoes and a little motivation. That being said running can be extremely hard on your body, especially when you are just starting.  We are finding that injuries among runners are very common. From shin splints to rolled ankles, no one is immune from getting hurt; however, here are some tips to keep you healthy and on pace.

Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU

Do not do too much, too fast

            When runners are just starting and begin to make progress, they tend to push their limits. Although this is a great way to challenge yourself, it is important that you understand your body has a threshold that when exceeded results in injury. Your mileage should be tracked on both a daily and weekly basis. If you have never done much long-distance running, then your weekly mileage should begin quite low. It is important that as you improve your mileage increases gradually. A consensus among the running community is the rule of 10%. Do not increase your mileage by any more than 10% on a week to week basis. For many runners and new runners specifically, 10% may even be too much of a jump. This is why when preparing for a distance race, whether it is a 10k, half marathon or a marathon it is recommended you start as early as possible. Could you train and complete a half marathon in 6 weeks? Maybe, but the toll it could take on your body and the injury risk you are exposing yourself to are likely not worth it. A recent study showed that runners who only increased their mileage by 3% a week had a much higher rate of success in their upcoming races than runners who ramped up their mileage quicker.

            So how do you know where to start? First, start with walking. If you can walk an hour a day with out any injury you may start running. As a new runner, start with short runs and accumulate miles over the week. It is important to understand how far you have been running, so I recommend using an app on your phone such as “Map My Run” to help track each run. Personally I have a Garmin GPS watch , that links to Garmin connect. Garmin connect is an app. Most GPS watches can be linked to an app.

Photo by Mateusz Dach

Do not run through significant pain

            As runners, we all understand some discomfort is a part of the sport. Your legs and feet will likely be sore after a long run; however, if you begin to notice significant pain or discomfort while running consider taking a break. Breaks are one of the hardest things to convince a runner of doing, but it could save you from more severe injury. Aside from the odd rolled ankle, very few running injuries are acute and traumatic. Far more commonly runners ignore the pain and “tough it out” when they begin to feel discomfort.

This can result in a cumulative injury cycle. What is that you might ask? It means if you continue to stress an injury by running, you will continue to make it worse and it can become a much more significant issue. Sometimes all it takes is an extra day off when symptoms are minor to allow your body to recover. This is important because if you have an injury, it is very common for your body to adapt by altering your gait (running pattern).

This may lead you to be less efficient, develop bad habits or in a worst-case scenario cause an injury elsewhere in your body. Remember, everything is connected, so if you are running with a limp the biomechanical stresses will be placed on a different part of your body. Give your body a chance to recover and if you think that an injury is nagging have a medical professional look at it. It is much more beneficial to have an injury taken care with a couple of sessions of treatment rather than letting it persist and having to deal with it when it is much more serious, and your recovery time is extended.

Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU

Call the office if you’re having pain. Do not tough it out! It could only get worse. We work with a lot of athletes and help them return to activity. Athletes looking to prevent injuries or perform better see us.

How do shoes effect development of motor skills in children?

New research published in Frontiers of Pediatrics found that children and adolescents who spend most of their time barefoot develop motor skills differently from those who habitually wear shoes. 👟 Further, they found the habitually barefoot children had noticeably better jumping and balancing skills compared to those who wore shoes habitually.

Walking barefoot not only has influences on developing proper biomechanics, but also has great influences on the brain 🧠. Walking barefoot allows for greater sensory afferentation to the brain, from the feeling of grass between their toes to balancing on pebbled sidewalks.

Try to give your young children enough time without shoes!

Zech, Astrid, et al. “Motor skills of children and adolescents are influenced by growing up barefoot or shod.” Frontiers in pediatrics 6 (2018): 115.
https://doi.org/10.3389/fped.2018.00115

2019 saw dozens of impactful studies regarding the benefits of Spinal manipulation(adjustments)!

Chiropractic can help headaches! Thru my 20 years of practice I have helped a lot of patients with headaches. It’s nice to see the research is backing up what I and many of my patients have known for years. Chiropractic can help headaches.

Here’s a nice study form Harvard showing that.

1. Researchers from Harvard Medical School, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and Palmer College of Chiropractic performed a systematic review of the effectiveness of SMT for migraine. They concluded: “We observed that spinal manipulation reduced migraine days as well as migraine pain intensity.” (5)

2. A BMJ study encompassing nearly a quarter-million LBP patients compared initial and long-term opioid use with choice of initial provider. The study concluded: “Patients who received initial treatment from chiropractors or physical therapists had decreased odds of short-term and long-term opioid use compared with those who received initial treatment from primary care physicians.” Drilling beyond the abstract, the data demonstrated that between PT’s and DC’s, chiropractic patients had significantly lower initial and long-term opioid use (0.10 vs. 0.15). (6)

Hip Weakness is Closely Linked to Knee Pain

In this study they found that hip weakness was linked to knee pain. I treat a lot of runners that have knee pain, and most of them have weak hips.

“Women with Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome had 33% lower hip abduction peak strength. They also had significant 70% lower knee extension force steadiness and 60% lower hip abduction force steadiness than pain-free women. Evidence-based treatments aiming at improving force steadiness may be a promising addition to PFP rehabilitation programs.

Below is a helpful exercise to strengthen your hips. As always, if you need any guidance do not hesitate to call the office!

Ferreira AS et al. Knee and Hip Isometric Force Steadiness Are Impaired in Women With Patellofemoral Pain. J Strength Cond Res. 2019 Jul 22. Link 

Running Shoes part III: The latest Research

Part 3: Running shoes

What happens if you don’t have pain or you are a casual runner that is just looking for a new pair of running shoes?

The research shows that selecting running shoes based on comfort is the best.

The best way to know if they are comfortable is by trying them on and run at least a quarter-mile.  If the shoe feels good then that is the right shoe for you! That’s it, pretty easy, right?  If the sneaker feels good, that’s the one to buy.

Keep it simple! Your body knows what it needs.

Below is a nice summary of shoe research.

Research on running shoes

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If you missed my other posts on running shoes click here! And if you need help with shoes or running in general please give us a call!

Why does my back hurt in the morning?

People that come into our chiropractic clinic for treatment after lumbar disc herniation or disc bulging frequently have a history of pain which is worse in the morning and then improves after they’ve been up moving around for a bit.

Often they have some questions about what exercises and stretches they can do in the morning to make them feel better. We learned more about morning back pain in a disc – injured patient after the research of Michael Adams in the 1980s.(1,2) Adams referred to the “diurnal behavior of the disc” which mostly refers to the tendency for the discs to absorb moisture from the tissues around them overnight.

The discs soak up the fluids from the tissues around them while a person is recumbent in bed overnight. So in the morning when they wake up the outer layers of the disc are under a bit more tension, which we refer to as hydrostatic pressure.

In turn, the disc becomes a bit more plump, adding pressure to nerves and surrounding structors.

So what should you do? Once you get out of bed you should not bend over right away. Try to keep your back straight or try stretching backward .

Next, use your hips to bend over the sink to brush your teeth.

A straight back using my hips to bend over.
Bending at the lumbar spine causing lots of pressure on the lumbar discs

The above picture is a great way to cause sharp shooting pain in the morning.

Try to sit up straight or use a back support in the small of your back like in the picture above.

Sitting with a more normal curve in the lumbar spine helps take the pressure off of the lumbar discs and helps decrease pain.

A wrong way to sit

Sitting like this cause more disc pressure causing disc irritation. It can cause the disc to bulge more.

Discs are fatter in the morning because the absorb fluid overnight. So think of a jelly doughnut if the doughnut has more jelly its more likely to shoot out if you put pressure on it.

So remember back straight, stomach tight will help prevent lower back pain and help you heal if you have pain.

Muscle as viewed through an electron microscope!

This is a pretty cool picture. Can you believe the detail? The red in the picture is the muscle and the white stuff is the connective tissue is called fascia. A painful area in a muscle can be caused by damage to one or both of theses structures!

What type of running shoe I get part 2

Part 2:

Ok, we’ve worked on any muscle imbalances, fixed any joints that needed fixing and now we’re working on running form. What’s next is everyone’s favorite: running shoes

Let’s talk about running shoes!

When I’m looking for a running shoe these are the things I look for:

  1. Heel to toe drop:

This a zero drop shoe.  That means the heel and toe are at the same level.

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Here’s a large heel drop.

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Now which one to choose?

You can not use a zero drop shoe if you were using a running shoe (with a large heel drop) like the one above your whole life. Doing that you would destroy your Achilles tendon and calves. 

I would suggest using the lowest heel to toe drop you can tolerate. better to error on a bigger drop then lesser drop.  You can always go lower the next shoe.  This will lower your chance of soreness.  Remember change can take time, don’t rush things

2.  Where the shoe bends:

I like the shoe to bend where my big toe bends which is the “knuckle” part of the big toe.  It only makes sense that the shoe bends where the body bends.

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3.  The toe box:

The toe box is the space around the toes.  Take your foot out of the shoe or sneaker and take a  look.  I bet it does not look like your shoe.  Most people don’t have elf shaped feet.

A big toe box gives more room for your foot and toes. The second picture is an insert( black one) from a shoe with a big toe box.  My foot does not spill over the insert(green one) like the first picture.  

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If you have any question please call the office! Or you could bring your shoe in and we can go over it in person.

What type of running shoe should I get part 1

I’m going to do a multi-part blog on running and running shoes! Running and advice on the proper shoe are topics often brought up in my clinic so why not share for easy reference?

Starting with part one:

Here one question I get often:  I’m going to start to run to get in shape, so what brand (x) of running shoe?

There so many variables that go into the question.  Your biomechanic faults/deficiencies, anatomical variants,  the current level of your strength, the current level of fitness, what is your running form/style. Plus add in what you do for a living.  A construction worker has different stress on the body then a person who sits at a desk all day.

In my opinion, it’s better to start with yourself.  First, improve your body and then work on your running mechanics.   After, try to find the best style of running shoe based on comfort.

I like to take a “ground-up” approach.   The first thing to do is to make your foot and lower extremity better.  Fixing any joint dysfunction and then working on making your body stronger and more flexible is a great start.

Next is to improve your running form. I would video record the person running and make any necessary correction.  RUNNING is a SKILL and will need to be practiced.  

After doing all of the above, the patient will be less likely to get injured.  Plus it will be easy to find the right running shoe.