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  • Running is an excellent way to maintain one's cardiovascular and physical fitness.
  • A large percentage of runners suffer from injuries to their lower limbs.
  • Most of these injuries occur due to overuse rather than a specific trauma such as ankle sprains. In overuse injuries micro trauma occurs faster than tissue can repair itself causing inflammation, muscle strain, stress fractures, tendonitis or tendon rupture.

The body moves in 3 planes of movement - The transverse plane likens the movement of a swaggering bear, the frontal plane much like the gait of the penguin and the most optimum sagittal plane of the deer for speed and power.

However, predisposing factors as leg length differences, poor alignment and muscle weakness or imbalance can cause the body to lose its ideal sagittal plane of movement.

Excessive flattening of the normal arch or foot pronation causes the leg to rotate and collapse inward causing stress on the inside of the leg and knee. The muscles around the hip try to counteract this causing muscle fatigue and tightness. This stress may not be significant enough during walking but the added forces of weight and impact during running may precipitate tissue breakdown, inflammation and pain.

Leg length differences - As the body tries to equalize the difference in leg length one may flatten the arch of the foot on one side to try to shorten that leg. Running on the road side on a graded plane may also mimic a leg length difference.

Muscle imbalances such as weakness, poor flexibility and poor muscle enduranc can produce abnormal movement patterns and cause eventual pain.

Long distance without adequate training or successive days of heavy training can lead to overuse of tissue and trauma. Excessive speed can decrease muscle control and cause muscle fatigue.

Running surfaces such as hard, uneven or sloping surfaces alter the mechanics of the run.

Improper shoes and equipment can lead to injury. For example excessive wear, too little heel cushioning, insufficient or too rigid support or too small of a toe box are among a few possibilities of equipment failure.

In overuse injuries any predisposing or precipitating factors need to be identified, eliminated or modified for a better run. Custom orthotics may be used to decrease abnormal forces on the foot during weight bearing. They are designed to support the foot in a neutral position to reduce pain and improve function.

It is essential to have a biomechanical assessment of the lower limb including a gait and running analysis conducted by a registered physiotherapist who has thorough knowledge of the sport, the environment, proper footwear and is experienced and trained in orthotic manufacturing.

Call today for your biomechanical assessment and start enjoying your run!