CHRONIC SPORTS INJURIES
The repetitive nature of running places high demands on the body’s bones, joints and soft tissue structures such as ligaments, tendons, and muscles. This isn’t just running, but most sports.
Even minor misalignments can lead to compensations that cause pain, swelling and dysfunction.
An experienced podiatrist can carry out an accurate biomechanical assessment using techniques such as digital video gait analysis.
They can use this to diagnose issues and provide an effective treatment regime to regain normal sporting activities.
Treatments available include:
- stretching and strengthening regimes
- footwear advice
- orthotics (arch supports)
- chiropractic mobilisation techniques
EVOLUTION OF RUNNING
Since man’s first early adaptions from Australopithecus to Homo Erectus, as a species we stopped swinging from the trees and started to walk and run on the ground. The foot has had to adapt from the ape’s hand-like appendage to an elongated foot with straightened toes and a propulsive big toe joint. Man ran to attack, to flee and to feed. Therefore it could be argued that running in its purest form is the most natural form of exercise any human can take part in.
BAREFOOT RUNNING TECHNIQUE
To be succinct, it is a style of long-distance running that is carried out in a lightweight running shoe, with a style similar to running barefoot on a beach.
With traditional “Heel Strike” style, the initial strike is on the heel, in front of the centre of gravity, which can cause a braking effect and jarring.
Barefoot style -initial strike is on mid to forefoot, directly under centre of gravity (hip) giving smooth efficient gait.
Heel strike style Initial strike on heel, directly in front of centre of gravity, causing jarring braking effect in running gait.How does it help?
- The foot spends a greater percentage of the overall run in mid-air rather than on the ground.
- Cadence is generally faster than heel strike running style, (180steps/90 strides per minute).
- This tends to be constant even as speed increases because there is less force going through the foot during running
- Could potentially be used as therapy for chronic repetitive foot and lower limb injuries during running.
To find out more about your running style, you may find digital video gait analysis helpful.