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Running Retraining to Treat Lower Limb Injuries

If you’re looking for a longer term fix rather than the “Band-Aid” short term treatment options that are so often prescribed to runners when they are suffering from pain then a running analysis is for you. By addressing the cause you can get long lasting results, click here for full list of injuries that can be treated by Running Retraining.

Recent research has provided support to what Osteopaths find very effective in a clinical setting when it comes to gait retraining. Running Retaining has personally helped me stop the pain from my lateral hip, ITB and patella femoral of which I had problems with on and off for 5 years. I have now spent the last two years running pain free (well in truthfulness my lungs still burn after a long run but I can no longer use my knee as an excuse!). Running Retraining has helped me come from someone who would struggle to run two kilometres without pain to now being about to complete my first half marathon on the Gold coast in June with fingers crossed for a sub 2-hour time.

For myself, talking about running and other injuries can be broken down to be very simple. If you have an injury free body and you have developed pain with the current running technique you are using you will find that even if you rest and let your body heal there is a high chance you will have pain again because you are using the same running techniques. This is a common re-occurrence that is seen often in runners due to bad running techniques.

This is where I look to implement a different sort of treatment plan where not only do we utilise manual therapy techniques to relieve pain such as massage, manipulation, stretching and dry needling but I also implement changes to the technique and way you are loading your legs when running.

Now to the research and if this stuff bores you please just skip to the next section (Lets Fix the Cause). I understand it is not everyone’s cup of tea.

I was super excited to read this research (You can find the original article here) as it looked to analyse just what all the research is saying about running retraining. Over 70 studies were reviewed, coupled with findings from 116 research papers and this was synthesised with the expert opinions of 16 international experts from the UK, USA, Canada and Australia to pull together information on just what works and what doesn’t when it comes to retraining runners.

So what were the findings?

- There is limited evidence for running retraining in the treatment of patellofemoral pain and anterior exertional lower leg pain.

- Based on sound biomechanical rationale, running retraining may assist in the treatment of lower limb injuries including exertional lower leg pain, plantar fasciopathy, Achilles tendinopathy, calf pain, medial tibial stress syndrome, patellofemoral pain, iliotibial band syndrome, patellar tendinopathy, hamstring injury including proximal tendinopathy and gluteal tendinopathy.

- The running retraining options that clinicians and patients might consider in clinical practice include strategies to reduce overstride and increase step rate, altering strike pattern, reducing impact loading, increasing step width and altering proximal kinematics.

- Substantial evidence exists for the immediate biomechanical effects of running retraining interventions in uninjured populations.

These running retraining options may seem like small changes but something as simple as changing stride length has drastic changes to the body.

Lets Fix the Cause

When looking for a long-term fix it may be as simple or as complex as changing one of these parameters. Unfortunately, if you just start guessing and change random things in the way you run most likely this will not help your running and may even lead to further problems.

“Tailoring running retraining strategies to each injury and individual is needed to optimise outcomes.“

So like most things to do with the body it comes down to an individual, just because one thing worked for your friend it may take an entirely different thing to fix your pain and that is why a thorough assessment of both your body and your running technique is essential.

After all if you don’t test yourself then it is just a guess. I will analyse your gait, assess your body’s biomechanics, strength and flexibility. We then take into account current research to come up with a plan (strength/stretch/motor pattern etc.) to get you on track as quickly as possible.

Ready for your assessment?

Check out how to create a video of yourself here, as I like to have the video assessment done before you even walk in the door so I can make the most out of the time we have together in the consultation room. If you have any questions give us a call on 0425 876 929 or make an online booking (make sure to select the Running Retraining appointment) now to put all this awesome research to good use on your body.

If you are a new mum, you may also find this blog about post pregnancy gait changes interesting. Click here to read.

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