It seems like every day we hear about a brand new way to prevent running injuries, and of course some suggestions make more sense than others. I just came across the results of a Canadian research study which suggests that a lot of running injuries may be the result of inconsistencies in runners/ strides; if this is true, we can eliminate a lot of problems by learning to recreate an identical stride for every step of every run (or at least for the majority of the time).
To reach this conclusion, Dr. Reed Ferber of the University of Calgary’s Running Injury Clinic used a 3D gait analysis system to examine the way different runners stride. Ferber noticed that the biggest difference between healthy and injured runners was stride variability; data from healthy runners was almost identical for every step, while injured runners joint angles and movements were just slightly different on every step they took (remember, of course, that these differences were only noticeable when being tracked by the monitor). Dr. Ferber suggests that, if this information is correct, running injuries could be prevented by giving athletes rehab exercises to strengthen wobbly joints and muscles, hopefully leading to a more consistent stride.
All of this information is interesting, but what does it mean for those of us who don’t have access to high-tech gait analysis do-hickies? Here’s what your Houston podiatrist would like you to take away from this article: if you’ve noticed any kind of pain when you’re running, come in and see me at Tanglewood Foot Specialists. In addition to examining you for obvious injuries, I can share strengthening exercises with you that will build up the muscles that support your runs, giving you a stronger, more consistent stride without time consuming and costly analysis.