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The #1 Risk Factor For Running Injuries
As any athlete knows, there is nothing more frustrating than to be kept from training or racing because of an injury. Unfortunately, this realization is particularly frequent with runners, as running injuries are amongst the most common of all sports injuries. To make matters worse, many running injuries become recurrent in nature and are often slow to respond to traditional types of care. This means that even after being sidelined for weeks or even months at a time, once their initial symptoms go away many runners will find themselves hampered by the same issues down the road, starting the whole process all over again.
Thomas Michaud, who authored one of the best text books I’ve ever read on gait mechanics, recently wrote a book for the layperson. The book is called Injury-Free Running: How To Build Strength, Improve Form and Treat/Prevent Injuries. In the book he described THE #1 RISK FACTOR FOR RUNNING INJURIES. He eloquently explains how when one experiences an injury they typically won’t seek appropriate treatment and rehab. Or perhaps they do seek treatment, but the treatment was so cookie-cutter it wasn’t effective. Human beings are excellent at compensation, so they form new gait patterns as a result of the injury. Some of these patterns are formed consciously, some are formed subconsciously. The result of new gait patterns is new loading patterns and eventually injury, after injury, after injury. It is amazing how over the years we have seen great runners come in with what they thought was a simple strain of a calf or hamstring. They left thinking they had “tweaked a hamstring” or “tweaked a calf.” They believed that the “tweak” would simply resolve itself and did not commit to care to fully heal and rehab it. That simple strain was the first domino. They did not seek proper treatment and their career was threatened.
“What is ironic is that first domino is when your case is easiest to resolve. Once you’ve knocked 3-4 more dominos over, it becomes exponentially harder to resolve your case.” -Dr. Rick Yost