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A Running Assessment at Kinematics

A Running Assessment at Kinematics

At Kinematics, we work with runners of all levels of ability to improve their running technique. As running is used in most sports at varying levels, it is important to make sure we are utilising all of our body’s ability to run efficiently to give ourselves the best chance of performing well and preventing injury.

Whether you are targeting for a specific event, playing sports and want to increase performance, resuming running following an injury, or just looking to stay fit and enjoy exercise – an assessment of your running can identify strategies to improve your technique, which will assist you in achieving an efficient and sustainable running stride.

Correct running technique comes from assessing your body’s motion and is important for two main reasons:

  • It prevents acute or chronic injury, as running is such a repetitive load with high amounts of force through your joints. Using your musculoskeletal system optimally through correct biomechanics will prevent build-up of strain and prevent niggling injuries that can be frustrating to manage.
  • When our body’s running biomechanics are not in sync, our heart must work harder to pump blood to our tissues. This leaves us ‘running out of gas’ quicker than our fitness levels might suggest. Similarly, putting unconditioned tissues under too much load has the ability to cause niggling injuries, which if not addressed and left untreated, can develop into more significant issues.

What is of utmost importance to us here at Kinematics, is educating our clients on how their body specifically moves, in order to prevent injury. We believe that having an understanding of exactly what is going on with your body and how to overcome any potential imbalances by optimising movement, is crucial in empowering personal growth in your health journey. We love helping our clients achieve their running goals and feel that education lies at the forefront of this.

What’s involved in a running assessment?

The assessment itself involves looking at your running history, running loads, injury history and planning for ongoing management. Taking a detailed history, correcting any imbalances through video analysis and setting achievable running goals will help us guide you through your training schedules for maximum outcomes.

How can a running assessment help guide my treatment?

Through our unique biomechanical approach at Kinematics, we are able to correct musculoskeletal imbalances that may arise.

For example, a client may suffer from chronic achilles pain that flares up with running that isn’t enough to stop the client from running, but is preventing progress, and restricting the running to limited times and opportunities, therefore is becoming quite frustrating.

Perhaps the runner is overstriding and landing the foot in front of the knee, causing more ground reaction force, thus making the calf muscle and achilles tendon lack contractile force and weaken, causing pain and/or decreased performance.  This sets off a raft of imbalances up the body, particularly in the hips and lower back, and causes the runner to compensate and overload these structures, usually painfully. These lower limb biomechanical changes then also alter how much arm swing and upper back rotation occurs, causing further postural problems.

With visual and auditory cues, we can assist in tweaking the landing position of the foot, and even the amount of arm swing that occurs, to ultimately help offload the painful achilles.

Essentially where you feel discomfort is often not where the fault in your running pattern is occurring, therefore having a detailed analysis of your whole body’s motion means we don’t miss any potential areas that are contributing to the issue.

Once we can identify the compensating structures, we can apply hands on treatments involving massage, dry needling, manual therapy, and muscle activation techniques to release these imbalances and dysfunctions. Then we aim to build a base of stability through Clinical Exercise + Pilates, to help consolidate the gains made by the hands-on treatment and reinforce the technique changes being made.

Once the runner has improved running efficiency and is running pain free, a Strength and Conditioning assessment and program can be provided by one of our coaches. This final stage of the rehabilitation process ensures the required power and endurance is established to reduce injury risk and safely increase your performance.

 

By Jonathan Covich

Senior Physiotherapist | Kinematics Health + Performance (K1)

 

You can book in a running assessment online with Jonathan here.