What is a Running Assessment, & how can it help me?


We’ve had a few questions from runners lately about what a running assessment involves, asking us what sorts of things we look at it, and how it can help them – so we wanted to delve into this today & hopefully answer some of these questions!

 

First things first: how can a running assessment help?

 

We know that running technique can be a really big determinant of performance and injury – indeed, we often see certain biomechanical issues in runners that are associated with higher rates of specific injuries1-9. Whilst a technique issue doesn’t absolutely mean that a runner will get injured, we know that it can be a big contributing factor in many cases – with the picture below going through a few really common examples:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More importantly, we know that problems with running technique can be changed – and that using really simple things in the clinic such as visual feedback (eg using mirrors, video playback etc.), audio feedback & verbal cues, and even modifying a runner’s cadence, have been shown to be effective in changing our biomechanics10-12.

 

So, saying “that’s just how I run” doesn’t really apply – if the ‘how’ of your running is causing injury, or affecting performance, it can be changed.

 

We also know that a runner’s muscle strength, control & flexibility are the key ‘building blocks’ on which the rest of their running is built – if you don’t have these right, it’s hard to support good technique, and even the best technique can come unstuck without these good building blocks.

 

Strength in particular is a big one – with strength deficits being strongly linked to a whole range of different running injuries3, 6, 7, 13-17. If we can identify an area that’s lacking in strength on testing, we can aim to improve it and minimise injury risk – as the old saying goes, “prevention is better than cure!”

 

 

So how does it work?

Treadmill Assessment

First of all, we sit down and find out more about you and your running – such as your training history, your history with injury, what shoes you’re in, and most importantly what your goals are with your running.

 

We then go through a comprehensive set of running-specific screening tests of strength, flexibility and control – particularly tests we know that are relevant when it comes to running & running injuries. We then get you up on the treadmill, and take high-speed video footage of you running to analyse your running biomechanics.

 

From this, runners will receive a detailed report of the assessment in a follow-up session, where we will go through the assessment and discuss specific recommendations with you, along with going through any recommended exercises or technique modifications in the clinic to correct any identified issues. Runners can also receive a copy of their video analysis to help them track their progress over time – which is important when re-assessing to see the effects of any technique modifications.

 

What runners need to bring:

  • Their usual shoes
  • Their running gear

 

That’s it!

 

As runners ourselves, we get a big kick out of being able to help runners achieving their running goals – and by having your running assessed, this can be a big help to preventing injury and improving performance – from beginners right through to elite runners.

 

If you’re wanting to have your running form assessed through a comprehensive Running Assessment, or if you have a running-related injury that you’re needing help with, see our Contact info to see Mat or Kirsty in the clinic – they’ll be only too happy to help you out!

 

 

REFERENCE:
 
  1. Loudon & Reiman, (2012). Lower extremity kinematics in running athletes with and without a history of medial shin pain. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 7(4), 356-364.
  2. Ferber, et al. (2009). Suspected mechanisms in the cause of overuse running injuries: a clinical review. Sports Health, 1(3), 242-246.
  3. Munteanu & Barton, (2011). Lower limb biomechanics during running in individuals with Achilles tendinopathy: a systematic review. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, 4(15).
  4. Milner, et al. (2006). Biomechanical factors associated with tibial stress fracture. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 38(2), 323-328.
  5. Boldt, et al. (2013). Effects of medially wedged foot orthoses on knee and hip joint running mechanics in females with and without patellofemoral pain syndrome. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 29(1), 68-77.
  6. Noehren, et al. (2014). Assessment of strength, flexibility, and running mechanics in men with Iliotibial Band Syndrome. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 44(3), 217-222.
  7. Dierks, et al. (2008). Proximal and distal influences on hip and knee kinematics in runners with patellofemoral pain during a prolonged run. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 38(8), 448-456.
  8. Noehren, et al. (2012). Proximal and distal kinematics in female runners with patellofemoral pain. Clinical Biomechanics, 27(4), 366-371.
  9. Grimaldi, et al. (2015). Gluteal tendinopathy: a review of mechanisms, assessment and management. Sports Medicine, 45(8), 1107-1119.
  10. Agresta & Brown, (2015). Gait retraining for injured and healthy runners using augmented feedback: a systematic literature review. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 45(8), 576-584.
  11. Napier, et al. (2015). Gait modifications to change lower extremity gait biomechanics in runners: a systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine, published online ahead of print.
  12. Schubert, et al. (2014). Influence of stride frequency and length on running mechanics: a systematic review. Sports Health, 6(3), 210-217.
  13. Latey, et al. (2014). Relationship between intrinsic foot muscle weakness and pain: a systematic review. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, 7(suppl. 1), A51.
  14. McKeon, et al. (2015). The foot core system: a new paradigm for understanding intrinsic foot muscle function. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 49(5), 290-298.
  15. Niemuth, et al. (2005). Hip muscle weakness and overuse injuries in recreational runners. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 15(1), 14-21.
  16. Fredericson, et al. (2000). Hip abductor weakness in distance runners with iliotibial band syndrome. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 10(3), 169-175.
  17. Verrelst, et al. (2014). The role of hip abductor and external rotator muscle strength in the development of exertional medial tibial pain: a prospective study. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(21), 1564-1569.