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Are you a New Mum returning to running? Do it Injury Free

You have managed to get some time to fit in some exercise, FANTASTIC!!!

Dust off the old runners and get at it. Your best option is to get out early, before you start work for the day. Whether that work be for the household or for income. Both are precious and important.

One foot in front of the next, just like you have done in the past. After all, running is running right?

Or is there more to running? Could pregnancy have altered the biomechanics of your running technique?

It might be stating the obvious but your body changes during pregnancy. The body increases in mass and changes the way it distributes that mass. Changes also occur to the strength of muscles and tendons. I could just talk on each of these alone yet if you are looking after young children there is a fair chance that me talking about the release of relaxin hormone and joint laxity of the pelvic girdle may put you to sleep.

Here is what the science says about running during or soon after pregnancy. Stick with me I will explain it.

So let’s get to what a study published in a renowned biomechanics journal found in 2015. The study looked at the way women walk when they are pregnant and noticed that it is different when compared to women who have never been pregnant.

The results stated that ‘In pregnant women, gait speed, step length and cadence are reduced. So, gait cycle time was longer. The gait cycle is modified by an increase of stance phase and a decrease of swing phase. As a result, an increase of double support and a decrease of single support phases have been observed. Step width also increased by 15%.

Clear as mud? Let me summarise;

Pregnant women walked slower and took smaller steps. They spent more time with both feet on the ground and had their feet wider apart. All this makes a lot of sense, as it is what you would want to have, a stable safe gait and reduce the chance of falling.

The most relevant part of this is that pregnancy related changes exist for up to eight months after giving birth.

So what is happening here?

The trick to returning to running is ensuring you have enough strength in your pelvic region. This includes your hips, lower back and abdominal region. After eight months it would be ideal if that occurred. A lot of people wish to use running to achieve that.

Runners have reported up to 79% of them getting injured in some way each year. One of my favourite group of runners to work with are mums who are looking to start running after having kids. I endeavour to do all I can to keep you in that injury free side of the equation. Particularly if we have a chat before you start. The best treatment is prevention after all.

The body will continue to use its new patterns of use. These are the patterns of use it got accustomed to whilst you were pregnant. The human nervous system will always use the path of least resistance. After pregnancy, this path is an altered way of walking. It is believed that this alteration puts you at risk of enduring injury. This is because the body has not run in this pattern of use. It has been pregnant in this pattern of use. The difference here is the key to retraining your technique. Alongside this retraining we need to free up the body parts to allow them to work effectively.

This is where I help. I will assess your running gait and break down how your lumbo-pelvic region functions. Thus, we will look to minimise the risk of injuries during running.

Preventing these injuries can be quite simple. Unfortunately as an osteopath I usually consult once problems have developed. Often these are with your back, hips, iliotibial bands (ITB), knee, achilles or feet. These are usually avoidable. We can, of course, work with you once you are injured. We do this every day. My passion lies with helping people; it makes more sense to help people prevent pain and injury than to fix it.

As many of you who know me will understand, I thrive to keep people happy and active, doing activities they love. I want to keep you running for longer and achieving your goals.

To decrease chances of injury, reach out for instruction on technique. Reach out for advice on training loads for your current state of health.

I am writing a review of recent research on the use of gait analysis for reducing lower limb injuries - which you will be getting ASAP.

I hope the above information has been of use to you. If you would like to come in and have this type of support to treat or prevent injuries please call the clinic. Let's get you to smash that next run, pain free.

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