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Hi people, today’s topic is the runner in all of us. Some of us love running, others maybe not so much. I myself am a runner and enjoy getting outdoors to be with my thoughts and the quiet patter of my feet on the ground. In all honesty, I wear headphones, but you get my point. Here at Active Recovery Physical Therapy, we like to think we have a unique approach to working with our running community. Not only do we look at the mechanics of your gait (how you run), but also make the connection to why you run that way. I have always loved looking at how a person runs and moves. All the little tendencies that form our movements and translate into running. When you really think about it, running is a single leg activity. Unlike power walking (which requires at least one foot on the ground at all times), running is controlled falling from one leg to another. Sounds graceful I know, but it really is at times. When I get a runner coming through my clinic, I always start with a detailed history of the person. I believe runners come in all different types and styles and that is what makes it so much fun. I can figure out what their goals or plans are through running. Just as a side note, I do not only see injured runners. Many times, I get folks who just want to know how they can be a better runner and make that experience more enjoyable.

So, why does this all matter? Like it says in the title, I think there is a runner in everyone. I all too often here people say I am not a runner, or I could never do that. My response to them is “You absolutely can! It just takes a little time, effort, and guidance.” Obviously, there are outside issues that can limit someone’s ability to run, but in general most people can work on mobility and strength to get ready for the load of running. That is why I am here. To help you set those goals and show you what can be done to start running. Even if you an experienced racer, I have some good info and analytics for you too. Serious runners love data and I can break it all down for you.

Now that we know running can be for everyone, what is running gait analysis and how does Active Recovery Physical Therapy help people by looking at this? Well, as I said before, not only do I look at how you run on video (gait), I can slow it down and really show you areas where you might be weak, tight, or just working harder than you need too. I mean, you are already running. Why work harder than you have to? So video is a great way to get you this information but that is the cherry on top, the end of the assessment. I start with that good running history we mentioned and then complete a Functional Movement and Biomechanical Assessment. Sounds fancy I know, but this is where we connect the dots and make sense of why we move the way we do. For example, someone could have weak hips and tight hamstrings and that tells us what? That they probably are not moving “optimally” which can put stress in the wrong areas. Seems obvious, so we move on and say well your structure shows me the hip is a little more rotated on the right versus the left. Uh Oh, if its structural and bone we can’t change it, can we? No, we cannot and that is ok. Your body has figured that out for you already most likely. Now we have all this information on how you move and what’s tight, stiff, weak, strong, or just God given. The video is the next step. I watch you run for a given amount of time and use the camera at different angles to look at various areas or your running gait. I can even show it to you on the TV in front of the treadmill and give you cues in real time to improve or change how you are moving. Cool right?! I think so, but I am a bit of a nerd, (as I am sure if you are still reading you know by now).

So where are we now? We have a history, goals, how you move functionally, a biomechanics and mobility assessment, and a video analysis of your running. I like to package this all up into one nice breakdown and make sense of all the non-sense. I edit video and pictures of your movement and educate you why this is happening, how we can improve or change it, and work with you on a home exercise plan or return to run progression to get you back on track.  Our goal here at Active Recovery Physical Therapy is to provide you the best care and experience possible. Whether you are injured and looking to stay active while recovering, or just looking to make running a more enjoyable part of your life, we have you covered. Reach out to us on social media or through our website with any questions you might have. We truly enjoy working with our community of runners and would love to find way to help you Stay Active!  

Stephen Worrel

Stephen Worrel

PT, DPT, MTC, OCS, FAAOMPT

Active Recovery Physical Therapy