As discussed previously, runners put a tremendous amount of stress on their various body systems, most often their joints and soft tissues.
I’ve yet to meet a runner of any sort who hasn’t dealt with an overuse type injury yet!
So what does that mean exactly?
Well, because running is an extremely complex biomechanical action, there are many places where faults, errors or compensations can take place. Multiply these by the number of reps (in the case of running, each foot strike can be considered a rep) that can be undertaken in a short period of time.
To make matters even worse, most recreational runners start their day by sitting in their cars, buses or trains to work, sit at a desk all day, rush home in the same manner and then warm-up with some basic static stretches for a few minutes before pounding the pavement.
They spend all day inhibiting their hips and then asking those very same inhibited tissues to respond to forces that are equivalent to multiple times their body weight (which is often greater than what it should be as well!).
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way and the response is not the one that they were looking for.
What happens is that the hips don’t work properly, thus causing the body to compensate at the joints above or below.
For example, if there is a loss of hip extension, the body will create the required extension movement through the back. So for every step of your run, you’re compressing your facet joints. Multiply this by thousands of steps. Each one causing just a little bit more irritation to those joints in your back.
Or, if there is hip abductor weakness and the leg is unstable, this will cause the leg to slightly bow in or go into what we call a valgus position with every landing. If every time that type of landing irritates the tissues on the inside of the knee, think how irritated it would become if you took 2000, 3000 or more steps.
And this is why runners should really care about their hips. And that’s also why runners should get fit to run, and not the other way around.
I’ll leave you to ponder those thoughts and let that sink in.
Yours in movement.