So you’ve been cleared to run after your injury or surgery. That’ great, but it can be a difficult time, with lots of questions.
- How long should I run?
- Can I go my normal speed?
- Run outside of treadmill?
- Will I, or should I, run the same way?
Running is a great exercise, and contrary to popular belief, running DOES NOT cause arthritis. Normal running mechanics allow for a gentle repetitive compression on the joints which can be helpful or joint health. That being said, running with bad form or running excessively can cause problems.
Generally speaking, post surgical people are more likely to develop arthritis, runners and non-runners, but the cardiovascular benefits of aerobic exercise far outweighs the arthritis concerns. There are some things to think about when returning to your running program. A slight change in your running mechanics may be beneficial to reduce injury risk and overall enjoyment of running. One of the main goals would be to reduce the amount of forces going through the leg. One of easiest and most efficient ways to do this is to shorten your stride. And if you are struggling with how to shorten your stride, try leaning forward a little bit. This will almost automatically shorten your stride without having to think too much. Too much thinking while running leads to stiff joints. This simple fix, 5-10% shortened length, has a few different effects:
- Reduces the braking forces when you land (Less forces=Less Pain)
- Less compression in the knee
- Less muscle demand in quad-good when returning from injury and weakness still present
- Easier and less fatiguing return to running-improves ability to maintain your program
- Shown to reduce risk of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)
Returning to running after an injury is a big deal, and an area that some struggle. If you’re getting back to running and having some problems this is a simple adjustment which give you enough relief to keep going. If you’re still having problems, come to see us at Premier Therapy and we do a video analysis or your run, and give a more detailed plan to fix any problems.
- Clin Biomech. 2017 Mar;43:79-85