If you are an experienced runner, it’s highly likely you’ve trained and competed whilst injured.
Indeed, research shows that runners often carry old “niggles” that have never been properly sorted out.
If you are a seasonal runner, or tend to aim for certain events, you may find that you are susceptible to injuries at certain times of the year, or points in your annual training cycle.
We asked Dave Burnett, who heads up our Running Clinic, to explain the common causes of injury and how we can help you reduce your risk and manage ongoing issues whilst at the same time improve your performance!
What caused my injury?
This is a commonly asked question at the clinic!
In the absence of an acute trauma or a specific isolated event, “overuse” is a common cause of injury.
To be more specific overuse usually means “training load errors”. Simply put, if your training load (i.e. the frequency, intensity, time & type of training) is higher than what your tissues (e.g Achilles Tendon or Knee-cap Joint) can tolerate, you’ll get injured.
And why hasn’t my injury resolved yet?
Tissue tolerance is related to to several different factors and all of these can affect your ability to get over an injury:
- your age – we all recognise that we become less elastic and quick to recover as we get older
- our genetics – some people just have good genes
- our general health and level of fitness
- previous injuries we have suffered
- our strength & flexibility
- our biomechanics – the way we are built or the way we move
- and finally our recovery, sleep, nutrition & lifestyle!
Runners that are at a higher risk of injury
Certain sub-groups of runners are at higher-risk of injury including
- Beginners with less than 1 year’s experience
- Runners with previous injuries (particularly in the first 3 months following the injury)
- Marathon runners who run more than 40 miles/ 65km per week
- Runners who rapidly increase their speed or distance
- Women with a low BMI or reduced bone density (Osteopenia or Osteoporosis)
How can training load affect injury?
Various factors influence training load including:
- The nature of your weekly running programme – i.e. the frequency, intensity, time and duration)
- Any other exercise or strength and conditioning you may do on top of your running
- The nature of your running training is also a factor and some injuries are more commonly “volume-related” versus “pace-related”.
How can I improve my tissue tolerance?
Improving your tissue tolerance will reduce injury risk and can be achieved in several ways:
- Cross-Training – using a variety of types of exercise in your training e.g. using swimming/cycling/cross-trainer
- Optimising or adapting your running style– your running style will change the forces placed on your joints and muscles- small adaptations are often effective to help solve ongoing niggles and can help improve your economy and performance.
- Optimising your footwear for your specific running biomechanics– this will help reduce load on the system
- Taping can help offload your tissues so they have more tolerance to exercise
- Running Specific Strength and Conditioning – it is now widely accepted that running performance can be improved by combining endurance training with explosive strength training. Adapting common gym-style strength work to make your programme specific to your running demands will help you improve your tissue tolerance more quickly
- Maximise nutrition, hydration and sleep– these will undoubtedly help performance, recovery and tissue repair.
How Physio can help
At Physio on the River, we can help you both:
- recover from injuries which are stopping you from running
- help those ongoing niggles you are carrying whist continuing to run and
- help reduce the risk of re-injury
Our physios are specialists at assessing the way you move and identifying the causes of injury. Combining our clinical skills and video gait analysis we can give you a really thorough screening and a baseline of information to create a tailor-made plan of action.
Our Standard 60 minute Running Assessment includes:
- Establishing the specific details of your running history by exploring your training programme, coaching advice and goals for up and coming competitions
- A physical screening to identify important biomechanical factors related to running (e.g joint and muscle flexibility tests and lower limb strength and muscle control measurements)
- Treadmill analysis of your running with Hi-Speed video
- A report of your video analysis findings
- An exercise programme to help facilitate your rehabilitation
NB- if your Screening Assessment and/or running analysis identifies a specific injury requiring treatment then a course of physiotherapy can be provided.
How to book a Running Assessment with Dave or one of our team of Physios:
Call 020 8876 5690
Book online here
Email the clinic here
Or just pop in and speak to one of our Receptionists
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