Something “technical” for runners this week…
So, since the summer has begun, I have been receiving several complaints of an injury which I keep on seeing a lot of, an injury that is commonly suffered by runners – especially ones doing a little too much too quick
See, one of the problems that most runners suffer with, if they’re not aware that is, is something called a “muscle imbalance”.
Let me explain:
Basically, too many runners train the same way, on the same paths, for too many nights consecutively and when they do – they get injured!
And this weeks article comes from a “real life” story from a client who I got chance to help in my PT clinic recently – let's call her Malia, aged 42 from St. Pete who came to me suffering with unexplained knee pain.
Now, once Malia had told me all about her knee pain, I then set about asking her to explain more about her routine.
And, once we got into her exercise habits, it was easy to work out that she did a lot of incline runs at her local gym in preparation for the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon in Manitou Springs, Colorado!
...and this was causing the muscles in her thigh to be stronger than the muscles in her hamstrings.
I’ll show you why that’s a problem for her knee: This difference in strength is caused as the thigh muscles are not only used to run at an incline, but also when coming down the other side and so they don’t get much chance to rest. (which she will be forced to do at the race!)
And, because of this, what we call a “muscle imbalance” around the knee joint happens.
Which is not good!
Why not? Well, a muscle imbalance in your thigh increases the pressure on the knee joint and it happens in a way that is not too dissimilar from that of a door handle being forced down, and then being released.
As your knee bends as you run, one muscle in your leg relaxes to allow it to happen, the other, well, it works hard to make sure that movement can happen.
If either muscle (hamstring or quad) is stronger than it’s opposite, then movement at the knee as you run will either be restricted, or simply not happen – just like a door handle might get stuck or jammed if the hinge isn’t working correctly.
Meaning… the surfaces of the knee joint don’t rub together like they’re supposed too and things like “cartilage damage”, IT Band Syndrome and other painful conditions such as Patella Tendonitis, commonly referred to as "Runners Knee" are more likely to happen to you – even more so as you pass the age of 50.
The solution? Simple, vary not just your exercise, but where you do it, too!
Doing things like swimming, bike riding, X-trainer, mixed with Yoga, Pilates and other exercises which work different muscles, means you’re going to be working different muscles and giving others a rest – which is good!
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need a “complete makeover” of your routine, just a few simple changes that could be as simple as changing the route you map out.
More: you could even add a light resistance work-out program to develop other muscles such as your core, which don’t always get a good work out if you’re running on the road night after night.
Pro Tip: Road running is great for stamina, not so for strength
And guess what?
Proper strength training specifically designed for runners does NOT slow you down... that is an old common misconception that is constantly thrown around and it is just not true...
If you have got any knee or running injuries right now, be sure to claim a copy of my free, special report which shows the BEST ways to continue to run pain-free for years to come it is called “6 Quick & Easy Ways To Reduce Your Risk of Injury While Running” and is currently available free to readers HERE.
p.s - We are hosting a FREE Runners Workshop at our clinic where you and several other local runners can Learn The Proven 9 Step P.R.R Method to Preventing Injuries & Maximizing Your Running Performance! To Register Just Click HERE.
(Spots are limited and fill up quickly, reserve your seat today)
Have questions? Feel free to send me an email by clicking HERE
I truly hope you enjoyed reading this article!
Dr. Javier A. Carlin - Running Performance Specialist