The Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) kicked off yesterday with a presentation on Healthy People 2020 and how physical therapy can help America achieve its goals in health and wellness. Healthy People 2020 was developed by the US Department of Health and Human Services as a ten-year plan to improve the nation’s health. The APTA is part of the Healthy People Consortium, a group of organizations and partners that have agreed to be active participants in helping to achieve the goals of Healthy People 2020. As we move towards these goals, physical therapists will advocate for healthier, more active lifestyles, and provide rehabilitation and recommendations to ensure all Americans can start or return to being physically active for health.
The second course I attended was on the biomechanical factors impacting running injuries. As America strives towards its Healthy People goals, more people will be taking up new activities for exercise. A popular and relatively cheap endeavor for someone looking to stay active for health is running. As the presenters discussed each running injury and the contributing biomechanical factors, some information popped up which I thought you(either the beginner runner or experienced) might find useful.
- 79% of runners will be injured and 46% will have recurrence of the problem
- If the alignment of your trunk, pelvis, and legs are off, you’re at increased risk of sustaining an injury. Not only that, the presenters did not mention this would impact your performance. Bad alignment = inefficiency
- It is possible to have good alignment and still be at increased risk of injury due to inability of the muscles to absorb shock. When the body’s active shock absorbers (muscles) are inadequate, it starts to rely on passive shock absorbers (bone and cartilage).
Many of the factors that contribute to running injuries can be corrected with instruction in better form, safe training guidelines, and strength training. Number one on my list is strength training the hips. More info on my recommendations can be found here.
Physical therapists can help turn an unhealthy and injured runner into a healthy and happy one. A comprehensive physical therapy running evaluation consists of gait analysis, strength training, movement analysis, flexibilty, and ROM. It will not only feel good to have the pain gone, but the runner will likely improve performance as a result.
- Powers, C & Davis, I (2011). “Biomechanical Factors Underlying Running Injuries: Proximal and Distal Factors” presented February 10, 2011 at the Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association, New Orleans, LA. [↩]