In this episode of the RunBuzz podcast, I speak with Dr. Shari Miller who is a physical therapist and board certified orthopedic clinical specialist. We discuss some of the root causes of running injuries and why rest may not be the best treatment option for you in many cases. Dr. Shari shares an overview of what physical therapy is, how to decide whether or not to self treat your injury and finally, how physical therapy can help you get over running injuries and back to running injury free. All this and more, coming up on today’s episode.
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How Physical Therapy Can Help Common Running Injuries With Dr. Shari Miller
Dr. Shari Miller, is located in Dublin Ohio where she operates her movement clinic. You can reach her through her clinic’s website at Athletity.com. Dr. Shari has made a few resources available to you on her website that you can download for more information in the area of injury prevention and general running. You can check those out on her resources page. You can also follow Dr. Shari and Athletity on Instagram (@athletity).
If you get injured, you probably do not need to stop running.
Dr. Shari shares a story from her days back in graduate school when she told a runner to stop running because at the time she did not recognize the impact it had to their overall performance through loss of fitness due to lack of training training. After seeing the impact, she does everything she can to keep runners running. She shares with us that most runners can continue to run, even through their injury as long as they scale back the volume and intensity of their training so that proper recovery can occur.
Following the wrong training plan is the #1 cause of running injuries
- If you follow a training plan that does not match your current physical ability or if you progress too fast you can and often will get injured. She shares with us that having a plan customized to you if extremely important.
Shoes do not prevent injury as much as we would like to think they do
- The research shows that shoes do not play into injury prevention as much as runners would like to believe. For years, we believed that shoes that addressed foot posture mattered and that getting a shoe that matches your foot posture helped. Then, we added in movement so we believed finding a shoe that matched foot posture and your specific movement when it came to running on a treadmill helped with injury prevention. But now research is started to show that shoes do not matter nearly as much as we once thought.
- Pick a running shoe that feels good to you and replace when the cushioning is failing.
Runners who consistently avoid injury often have strong single-leg, leg strength
- Single-leg, leg strength is important because as runners we are always pushing off with one leg at a time. Building strength in each of our legs will help with injury prevention.
- A quick test to test your leg strength is to sit on the edge of a chair, like a kitchen chair and see if you can stand up and repeat that up to ten times. If you can do this you are in really good shape. If you can’t, you need to work on single leg leg strength.
If you feel like you are injured or are experiencing pain, think like a traffic light
- If you feel pain, envision a traffic light with a red light, yellow light, and green light and relate that to your pain scale. A green light would equate to little to know pain, or pain that only occurs while you are running. A yellow light would be pain that lingers up to 24 hours after a run. At around 24 hours, you should start to consider how you are going to address it. At this stage, it is more of an acute injury and intervention at this point can help prevent it from becoming a chronic injury. Pain that lingers past the 24-48 hour point (or stress fractures) is starting to cross over into the red light and you should start to consider treatment options.
Tips For Seeking Out A Physical Therapist And What To Expect
- In the United States, all states support direct access so you can seek out a physical therapist directly without seeing a physician first. The rules differ from state to state, so be sure to check if you live in the United States.
- Physical therapists are experts in muscles, tendons and bones especially when movement is involved.
- More and more physical therapists are using movement as medicine. So most injuries unless showing signs of a stress reaction or fracture, can heal through reduced workload and volume while still allowing the runner to run.
- Initial appointment will be primarily designed to determine what activities are bothering you and gather information to help with the creation of an action plan to solve your issue. The appointment will mostly be diagnostic in nature and will likely include a detailed assessment and tests to get some baselines measurements in things like range of motion, strength, etc.
- After a treatment plan is established, physical therapists have many, many treatment options beyond ‘just exercise’ to get you back onto the running trails, so don’t hesitate to see one if you need one. Remember, the earlier you see a physical therapist, the faster you will be likely to fully heal. Don’t wait until your running injuries are chronic and hard to treat.
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