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Injury Prevention in Runners

June 13, 2014 10:00a | CORE PT & MC | by CORE Movement Specialists 

Did you know that there were 722 marathons scheduled in the U.S. and Canada in 2013 with almost half a million finishers (1)?  Each year, there is an increasing number of people taking up running so now more than ever, we as movement specialists need to spread the message about not only injury recovery but more importantly injury prevention.  The most common injuries runners experience include hamstring strains, ITB syndrome, ankle sprains, stress fractures and knee pain (2). Notice anything in common with these injuries?  They are all overuse injuries.  Runners are notorious for overworking muscles and joints because most feel the only way to train is to run and then run some more.  Many runners believe the old adage “no pain, no gain” and accept the notion that runners have pain.  There is no denying that runners must be mentally tough to push their bodies to accommodate; however the pain associated with mental toughness and that of tissue pathology are two different things.  The increasing frequency of overuse injuries indicates runners are ignoring the body’s pain alarms and pushing into tissue pathology. 

Let’s look at the hamstring strain as an example.  The biggest risk factor for a hamstring injury is a previous injury.  Other risk factors include age and fatigue (2).   Most individuals with this type of injury manage their pain with rest, massage, chiropractic treatment, ice, or other passive strategies only to realize only temporary relief and improvements that are short lived (3).  That’s because these passive treatments simply manage symptom irritability rather than treat the underlying problem driving symptoms.  However, there is a solution to runners’ overuse injuries; you can take an active approach to find and fix the underlying problems driving your aches and pains.   

New York University’s Langone Medical Center recognizes that proactively identifying underlying weakness and correcting movement can prevent injuries and eliminate the downtime required to rehabilitate injuries (3).  At CORE, we couldn’t agree more!  Injury prevention is our PASSION and that is why we teamed up with The Performance Matrix screening platform to identify underlying weakness and movement control problems within the musculoskeletal system.  These underlying problems or “weak links” are the driving force behind the onset of overuse type injuries, are the key to stopping injury recurrence, and are also the reason so many athletes encounter performance barriers.  So, stop managing your pain with passive strategies.  Take the first step in actively fixing your problems by getting screened today.  

How can finding your “weak links” prevent injury?  Let’s look back at the hamstring strain example.  There are many factors that can contribute to hamstring strains, but a common factor is weak gluts (aka gluteals, the large muscle group that makes up your backside).  If the gluts aren’t doing their job the hamstrings will try to pick up the slack by working double time to fill both power and stability roles.  In this scenario it’s only a matter of time before sufficient speed or load results in a hamstring injury.  Often, the underlying glut weakness is residual from a previous injury in which the pain resolved without regaining efficient glut function.  The glut “weak link” kicks off a chain of events leading to hamstring injury.  So you can see why the number one risk factor for a hamstring strain is a previous injury.  It’s also easy to understand the importance of finding your “weak links” now before injury ensues.

Using The Performance Matrix screening platform CORE’s movement specialists will identify your “weak links” and design a specific training program to fix your underlying problems, decrease your injury risk and help you reach your full running potential.  Training with our movement specialists will help you achieve superior results compared to programs you do on your own.  Our team monitors your every move during training to ensure the desired physiological training effect occurs to fix your “weak link” and regain efficiency in your musculoskeletal system.  By helping you avoid common exercise pitfalls, our specialists will maximize your results.  In describing the most common training pitfalls Alison Peters, M.S., a clinical exercise physiologist at NYU put it best, “You can get strong doing something incorrectly” (3).   Injury prevention is about more than strength, it’s about control.  If during exercise you lack sufficient control, you merely reinforce the muscle imbalance or compensated movement pattern your body is already using.  You may feel stronger, but failed to change how you move or decrease your risk for injury.  At CORE, helping you regain movement control is our expertise.  We will help you fix your underlying “weak links” and perform better.  Take the first step in actively changing how you move by getting screened and leave other passive strategies behind.  Your next PR is just around the corner and we can help you achieve it.     



(1) http://www.findmymarathon.com/statistics.php

(2) Injury Prevention in Novice Runners: ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal Vol. 18/NO.2

(3) The Whole Body Fix: Runner’s World Magazine March 2014

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