Running- what style are you ?

Running is one type of exercise which does have a high prevalence of injury. There are a multitude of symptoms which could occur, including foot, knee, hip and lower back discomfort. There are also a large variety of causes of these symptoms, which may be related to your running style.

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So how do we look at running styles?

We can monitor running style using videoing, and be able to determine the exact positioning of the feet and hips upon impact. This can allow us to determine the possible causes of someone’s symptoms when running, and therefore provide targeted advice or exercises to improve it.

Can different  running technique result in injuries ?

Technique is a bit nuanced in that one style of running may be fine for one person but not another. Not everyone with “bad” technique will have problems but some people may have issues due to their style of running !

Muscle, ligament and tendon strength is influential in preventing injury. Surfaces and foot wear also plays a role in injury prevention or development.

Depending on  running style, the impact forces on the ground which transfer up the body when running can be quite significant. This over time and repetition, can lead to the development of  niggling injuries in runners.

Common running techniques:

The overstrider:

Overstriding refers to landing on an outstretched heel, rather than the foot landing underneath the knee and slightly in front of the hip.

It is an inefficient form of running due to the body needing to slow down, and counteract the increased forces from the ground from the heavy impact.

This style commonly presents with anterior knee pain or tibial stress syndrome. You can read more about the specific role of overstriding here.

The collapser:

This is often viewed from behind, and see as a ‘trendelenberg gait’ where the pelvis does not stay level on single leg stance. If you’re a runner you may feel this as your knees knocking together or kicking your shins when you’re running.

The pelvis will often drop, and the knee will cave in towards the other knee.

This style can be related to lower back and pelvic control, or stiffness in the ankle.

This style of running commonly presents with anterior knee pain or lateral hip pain with running.

You can see in the picture below how training correctly can improve your running pattern.

 

The weaver:

Weaving refers to legs that cross the midline when running which creates a very narrow base of support.

This can result in a similar presentation as the collapser, and can present as lateral hip or ITB dysfunction, as well as increased risk of shin splints.

Some people may only have one side that weaves, and it will often be the symptomatic side. This can be a combination of muscular weakness, or habit.

Notice in the picture to the right the similar hip presentation as above, but note how the feet on the right picture are close to the right side of the body.

The bouncer:

Bouncing refers to increased upwards movement when running rather than a forwards type movement.

It is not a very energy efficient way of running and is especially taxing on the calf and quads  resulting in a heavier landings, increase ground forces and joint loading the longer you run.

Common injuries/symptoms relate mainly to tibial stress and calf/achilles overuse.

The leaner:

You will notice some people when running that they  tend to lean backwards.

These are often the people who don’t have large posterior muscles (gluteals), which results in increased pressure in the anterior, but also posterior structures.

Working on gluteal and trunk strength is the best fix for this.

So there are just a few of the common styles we see when running , some people may have aches and niggles as a result others may not. So it’s a case of ” it depends” if you need to refine your style or add exercises to offset and potential problems.

Keep an eye out for a blog talking about exercises to work on running strength soon. If you think you do any of these, or experience discomfort with running, feel free to book in with one of our physiotherapists here.

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Cheers and thanks for taking the time to read this blog

Dave

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