"You’re a runner? Aren’t you worried you’re going to wreck your knees?"
Runners are at a higher risk for osteoporosis
When we look at studies of cartilage density in the knee joint, we actually find that runners have stronger and thicker cartilage than sedentary folks. The amazing thing about the human body is its ability to adapt to the stresses we place on it. If done with a safe training program that allows for adequate recovery and a gradual build in training volume, the body’s structures can actually adapt to the repetitive pounding of running. Individuals who compete in other sports, like soccer or football, where traumatic injuries from twisting or tackling are common, are at a much higher risk for developing OA later in life than runners.
Highly cushioned shoes help to decrease the load in the knees and hips
Your arch type, or level of pronation or supination, should determine what type of running shoe is best for you
Stretching before running helps prevent injuries and decrease muscle soreness
'Heel Strikers' are less efficient runners and more likely to injure themselves
When minimalist running burst into the media, it emphasized landing on your forefoot as an effective gait pattern. While this is an efficient way to run for a lot of people, it may not be the most efficient for you. Believe it or not, many of the world’s best Olympic marathoners land with a prominent heel strike. The difference between most elite heel strikers and novice heel strikers is the angle of the shinbone when the foot contacts the ground, as well as the cadence (number of steps per minute). Efficient running technique considers many different factors, and simply deciding to run on your forefoot does not automatically make you an efficient runner. In fact, it might make you less efficient. An efficient gait will decrease the stress on your body and decrease your risk for injury. A physiotherapist trained in gait analysis can help you discover your most efficient running gait and give you strategies to incorporate it into your training.
If you or someone you know suffers from nagging running injuries, it's a good idea to recommend a gait analysis at our clinic. In almost all cases, you don’t need to stop running, you just need to make changes to your training, and to the way you run.
by Laura Gfeller, Physiotherapist