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Constant Aching, New Pain, Past Injuries and Why You Need a Run Analysis!

Remember that ankle sprain from years ago? That knee surgery you had when you were younger? That time you tried a crazy strength workout and pulled a muscle? Yep, those nagging one time injuries have potentially caused compensation through the years resulting in other pain/damage. 

Fast forward, now you’re running or you’ve just continued to run through the pain. Although through this time, you have had nagging aches and pain or can’t get beyond a certain mileage because your back hurts, your Achilles hurts or your knee just starts KILLING YOU!  You can run on a treadmill and feel a little better, but that’s partly because the treadmill is doing SOME of the work for you. 

I know, Google and YouTube say you need to buy a 50$ awkward contraption to alleviate all this pain and make you “Boston Qualified in 10 days!” — no.

False, we need to find the true problem and work to fix it, not put a bandaid on it. For the simple reason that if you put a bandaid on it for a couple miles, chances are you will feel it the moment you try increasing your mileage or pace.

So, let’s break it down a little more! Here are some common pain points that I’ve heard people talk about and we’ve needed to evaluate and break down to the root cause!

  • “I had knee surgery years ago and I feel like I just started running through it once I was cleared from PT. Now I feel like I have some knee pain, hip pain and when I run a lot my arch starts hurting.”
    • Yes, this is true and very real! Typically what can happen is the surgical (or just injured) leg never gets full trust from our brain, or full strength on the single leg!
    • So, when we go to load that single leg at mid-stance, we do not flex the knee through the gait cycle appropriately causing a rigid mid-stance followed by OVER absorption on the opposite leg.  
    • Some examples of what follows lack of knee flexion →  stiff hips, weak glutes and medial loading on the inside of the knee and ankle! 
  • “I’m a single-sport athlete and started running, but can’t figure out why one side of my body is always in pain. I also feel so tired so early when I run.”
    • Yes, yes and yes. This picture speaks for itself and is ALL TOO COMMON. 
    • Single sport, or specific rotational athletes will have an under-development with their opposite side core/stability. 
    • If this is not controlled and balanced at a young age, it will lead to so many imbalances as we continue running whether it be for sport or recreational exercise.
  • “I have struggled with stress fractures in my foot and ankle over the years and can’t figure out why they keep coming back.”
    • This is all too common when we rotate surfaces, mileage and shoes! We tend to let strength and stability go out the window quickly.
    • Simply stated we can start having shin pain and foot pain due to the type of shoe we wear, BUT you have to keep in mind, this pain could be coming from the hips due to fatigue, muscle breakdown and tightness!
    • We can’t always assume it’s a bad shoe!
      • Check out these photos, the left photo is the first analysis, the second is after a month of working on stride, strength and stability.
  • “Years ago I pulled my hamstring and ever since then I can’t improve my pace or go beyond a certain mileage.”
    • Frustrating because it happens to all of us. The unfortunate part is that we learn to compensate for the tightness and pain which starts restricting other aspects of our running.
      • You can see in the photo below, he was restricted based on his toe off which limited his forward momentum and created too much vertical displacement. 
      • Once ideal stretching and mobility was added, we saw immediate improvement!
  • “I’ve had some nagging issues over the years but I just run through it. I feel like I have a decent stride but I just can’t figure out how to get rid of this random pain.”
    • This, right here, is what I hear so often. It’s normal to feel like you need to ‘run through the pain’, or that it’s just the ‘well you increased mileage’ kind of pain.
    • Not true. These ‘nagging’ pain issues can be caused by fatigue and muscle breakdown over time that has gone untreated. 
    • You can be running next to someone and they say “oh you look good” or “well it’s probably because you aren’t running barefoot — you know, we should all run barefoot because that’s what humans do.” (Exaggeration but also a common recommendation from friends when not appropriate for certain people).
    • Those statements that friends make can be dangerous. What you may not realize is that this nagging pain is simply caused by imbalances we don’t see or notice because it is happening BEHIND us. Glutes, Hamstrings and Core imbalances that our friends don’t notice with the ‘naked eye’.
    • We noticed this when we did a run analysis on this awesome guy below. His stride laterally was phenomenal, but from the posterior angle, we noticed the culprit of his aches and pains. Now we can tackle them head on! 
  • “I just started running and want to see how to improve and stay injury free!”
  • “I’ve been running for years and just want to make sure things look good!”
    • Ah, tackling any potential issues early is by far my highest recommendation. This is great to be able to see a full view of how we can eliminate any potential injuries before they arise, and just make sure things are efficient and set up for success!
    • You do NOT need an injury to get a Run Analysis! We recommend doing this at any point to make sure you have a solid foundation going forward.

With all of this said, there are appropriate ways to correct and maintain a gait cycle. At Optimize Performance we pride ourselves on getting individuals into the correct ranges through their gait pattern so they stay efficient and injury free. There is no PERFECT gait cycle, but there are ways that we can achieve the ranges safely. 

This isn’t something you need to ‘wait until you’re injured’ to do. We meet you and will perform a run analysis on the terrain you’re used to running on. Treadmill’s mess with our stride at times, so we want to see what your body is doing in your normal environment. 

Stay ahead of the game! Keep yourself injury free and be able to get out there and run!

Reach out for some bullet-proof, rock solid mobility and strength exercises that can start you on the right path for efficiency and injury prevention. REMEMBER!!! NOT EVERYONE IS THE SAME! Your knee pain or ankle pain can be caused by something COMPLETELY different than your friends pain. 

**This is why doing an individual Run Analysis is important. OFF OF THE TREADMILL! 

Contact us for more information!

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