There seems to be a lot of conflicting information in running communities regarding the management and prevention of running injuries. We have found that this leads many runners to try and go it alone when managing injuries; often making changes and modifications to training, run technique, footwear etc. in an attempt to settle their symptoms whilst keeping km’s in their legs before seeking help.
Unfortunately managing running injuries can be complex, and whilst sometimes there may be a singular cause that can be modified to achieve the desired result in injury management, we often find it is a combination of contributing factors. Making changes on a whim can often muddy the waters, making identifying the primary contributing factors more difficult.
Like with all injuries, runners will most likely experience an injury when accumulative tissue loads from running exceed what individual tissues are capable of tolerating. Put simply, tissues will become symptomatic when they are pushed beyond what they are capable of tolerating.
How are running-related injuries managed at The Injury Clinic?
Firstly, we seek an understanding of the individual. This includes training history, training behaviours, running goals, past injury history etc. Tolerance to training loads will differ significantly depending on the individual; and successful management of running injuries often requires the specifics of training and individual biomechanics to be addressed.
Gait mechanics are increasingly spoken about in the management and prevention of running injuries. Whilst they are an important consideration, it is equally important to note that there is not a single fix, or an ideal way for every runner to run.
Gait mechanics influence our loading profile; therefore changes to our gait mechanics are likely to reorganise tissue load. This can be advantageous if we make changes to reduce load through affected tissues, however it must be done with consideration given to the potential for “new injury” as load will likely increase through new, unaccustomed tissues.
At The Injury Clinic, running technique is thoroughly assessed and interpreted in the context of the individual and their injury profile. Risks associated with any change in running technique will be discussed, and a plan established to implement any changes as safely as possible.
Training errors are a significant component to most running related injuries. We will ensure we have a good idea of training load, and training history and make recommendations dependent on running goals, risk of further injury etc. We communicate closely with run coaches as needed, and endeavour to ensure the balance between reducing injury risk and staying on track to achieve goals is met.
All runners would benefit from strength training. When considering running injuries, and tissue tolerance to load, a well designed and targeted strength program will undoubtedly improve the capacity of tissues to tolerate load.
Whilst we need to always consider accumulative load, and adding in a strength program results in additional load, we can once again work with you to find the right balance and keep you running whilst a strength program is integrated into your training program.
Nutrition & Energy Availability
There are many things that contribute to our tissues ability to tolerate load. Nutrition and energy availability is one of them. If we don’t have enough energy on board to train or recover, our tissue health will suffer.
It may be suggested that part of your injury management include a consult with The Injury Clinic Sports Dietitian. This will ensure that you are adequately fuelled for training, and as a result, that your tissues have the necessary energy available to them to withstand training loads and recover between sessions.
We advocate that the management of running injuries needs to be holistic, with consideration given not only to run mechanics and training load, but nutrition, sleep, stress etc. These less considered contributing factors also have an impact on the ability of our tissues to tolerate the demands of running.
We ask that runners don’t go it alone when attempting to manage an injury, let us work with you to identify possible contributing factors and come up with a management plan to not only manage an injury, but prevent injury recurrence. Only when absolutely needed is a complete rest from running advocated. We understand many runners are keen to keep running at any cost, we will balance this understanding with the goal of ensuring a population of happy and healthy runners who are un-injured and achieving their goals.
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