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Running Retraining – Blog by Matt Francis (Podiatrist/Physiotherapist)

The weather is warming up, the days are getting longer and summer is on the horizon. This is the time of year we tend to see people becoming more active and start running.

Running is a fantastic form of exercise, with proven benefits in both mental and physical well being. Little wonder more than 3,000,000 Australian’s participate in running as a form of exercise each year. Despite this a high number of runners, up to 85%, sustain an injury each year.

There are many injuries with many diverse treatment options, making knowing what’s wrong and how to fix it difficult!

The most common injury associated with running is patellofemoral pain or “knee cap pain”, accounting for 39% of all running injuries. It typically presents as pain around the front of the knee, gets worse as you run and can even be aggravated by climbing stairs and sitting for long periods after running. There are many well known and commonly used treatment options, including:

  • Education on load management and self management
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Taping or braces
  • Footwear or inserts

With recent evidence we are learning that there is a new form of treatment that may be equally as effective. Enter Gait Retraining, or “Running Retraining”. Running Retraining involves visual and verbal feedback on a patients running technique whilst running on a treadmill. Over a period of weeks, patients progress from running short distances, to longer distances, with reducing amount of feedback, proven to assist runners at decreasing pain.

Here at Total Physiocare we also use slow motion video gait analysis to analyse a patients gait or “technique” to further enhance the process and enable you to have a better understanding of your condition.

Running Retraining can focus on a number of aspects of one’s gait, including:

  • Cadence (number of steps per minute)
  • Stride length (how far in front of your body you stride)
  • Knee and hip position
  • Foot strike pattern/position

Running Retrainng has been proven to be an effective treatment option for both knee cap pain and medial tibial stress syndrome or “shin splints”. It can also be useful for an number of other conditions, including:

Running Retraining typically occurs over a number of weeks and can be done by its self or as part of a comprehensive treatment and management plan for injured runners.

Interested in finding out more about Running Retraining and how it can help you return to running? Or even if your just interested in starting running?

At Total Physiocare Heidelberg, Reservoir, Camberwell and Footscray we can help!

By Matt Francis – Physiotherapist & Podiatrist

Book an appointment today for your assessment!