Written by Stacey Kelleher
(Bachelor of Applied Science (Sport and Exercise Science); Master of Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation); Diploma of Remedial Massage; Certificate in Dry Needling)
Running can be one of the healthiest and most liberating forms of exercise for not only the body but also the mind. For some it gives a feeling of freedom, many may enjoy that little bit of personal time and for others it’s a chance to clear your head.
Unfortunately though, with the increasing number of runners we are now seeing a great deal more injuries coming to surface which can negatively impact training or your mental state. So why are so many people getting injured during running?
The biggest cause of injury in runners comes from overuse and incorrect technique.
Why is incorrect technique so detrimental?
Incorrect technique generally stems from a lack of muscular strength and joint stability. Injuries from muscle strains, joint sprain or fractures occur due to improper functional strength throughout the body. By strengthening the body through resistance training, we can improve running technique and decrease injury risk.
The running gait cycle is broken up into three phases:
The lower body strength surrounding the knee joint helps to decrease the knee collapse angle, during mid-stance. This means that the knee and ankle are at the maximum flexion (bend). This should be between a specific degree range, and if outside this range a greater impacting force will occur through the knee and ankle joints. To prevent over-flexion from occurring, we can strengthen the lower limb muscles through resistance training.
The pelvis is supported during running by its surrounding muscles. These muscles assist in weight bearing when the body is unsupported on one leg. These include majorly the deep core, outer core and gluteal muscles. If these muscles are not strong enough to support the pelvis during running, the hips will drop from side to side, causing a twisting motion through the back and legs, in turn affecting the shoulders and natural arm swing. All of this can contribute to an increase in forces throughout the body causing a greater risk of injury, which will ultimately affect running performance time and efficiency.
When the body has a weakness through its joints and muscles, it will compensate through another area, causing a bio-mechanical abnormality. If these weakened areas are not strengthened through resistance training and technique corrected, injuries will eventually occur.
So besides preventing injuries, what is the benefit of correcting my running technique?
Correct technique can: