Everyone runs or walks each day... So we MUST be good at it right?
Doing something for many repetitions doesn't necessarily mean we are skilled at it ESPECIALLY if we are doing it incorrectly
For example, if you're running with poor technique over many kilometres, this will reinforce your movement habits.
So you're going to be really good at running with poor technique
Let's look at a few common examples of why some runners develop injuries:
When running, the most efficient place to land with each step is straight under your centre of mass (usually right below your hips).
Anything further in front of this will actually apply a braking force to your body, using up more energy and transmitting more force through your body
This is what runners will call "overstriding"
A few thousand steps of overstriding is no big deal for most people... they probably won't even notice. But what if you're running upwards of 20km/week and you're overstriding each and every step? Your body isn't going to be too pleased.
Have a look at your running from the side - where does your foot land in relation to your hip?
If you have this problem, try and focus on increasing your step rate (cadence) which will make it less likely to overstride
#2 Excessive knee rotation
Uncontrolled knee movement on the landing/stance phase of running is a big contributor to running injuries
The knee is primarily a hinge joint - it has a small amount of rotation to it, but it's main movement is straight forward and back (like kicking a soccer ball)... it is NOT designed to move side-to-side or to twist inwards or outwards
Rather, the hip and foot (surrounding joints) are much better equipped to do this
To check out what your hip is doing and if it functions well enough to control your knee, hop on the spot - is the knee motion controlled in line with the ankle, or is it not being controlled well?
If you have an unstable knee and add speed/load/fatigue/respiratory demand, can you figure out what happens next?
So if you see a runner with knees that move sidewards or twist excessively, then they most likely will run into some problems down the track
#3 Weak feet
This won't sit well with most podiatrists:
I HATE orthotics (when prescribed on their own)
Your foot is designed to CONTROL pronation and supination which is what most orthotics tend to block
The many muscles in the foot function to absorb shock when running, converting it to elastic energy to propel your body forwards, like springs in a car.
Add a physical block (orthotics) and those springs disappear
That shock absorption and propulsion disappears and your foot becomes weak and dysfunctional
Your super-cushioned, medial-arch supporting, expensive anti-pronation shoes might help you run further for a while, but your foot muscles are still WEAK
Just like wearing an ankle brace after a sprain... if you don't rehab it properly, your ankle will still be dysfunctional no matter how many bandages you put around it.
So what can you do about it?
Strengthen your feet and restore its FUNCTION!
If you can't control your foot in a sitting/standing position, can you imagine trying to control your foot when you run and put over 4x your body weight on it through THOUSANDS of reps per run?
Lift up all your toes - can you feel your arch lift up as well?
Most people DO NOT have a flat foot; rather they have a foot that flattens due to weak intrinsic foot muscles
So which of these do you need to work on the most?
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About the Author:
Lawrence Khuu is a qualified Physiotherapist and Movement Specialist. His mission is to help motivated clients perform at their highest level through a combined hands-on treatment and exercise rehabilitation approach. He currently treats clients at Activ Therapy Casula.
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