How vital is physiotherapy for runners?
The short answer is: very.
You are in the right place if you are a runner or planning to add running to your lifestyle. Physiotherapy for runners should be preventative and started before running becomes a lifestyle. However, it is also never too late to start physiotherapy.
What is Physiotherapy?
A physiotherapist is a person who specializes in movement and mobility. This ranges from walking, crawling, sitting, running, jumping, and stretching.
Functionally, a physiotherapist will help you to improve your mobility/strength while reducing pain and preventing injuries. Sessions in the clinic and your home will focus on strengthening muscles and joints, improving balance, increasing endurance, and decreasing pain.
Your assessment concerning running will focus primarily on your lower body and correcting your posture. Unfortunately, most running injuries occur below the knee and are the most common reason people will give up running. Knee issues are the biggest culprits for runners, especially those with fewer than two years of running experience.
The Purpose of Physiotherapy
The most common reasons runners seek physiotherapy is to alleviate the painful symptoms of ITB syndrome, shin splints, hamstring tendinopathy, Achilles tendinopathy, and patellofemoral pain syndrome. These injuries are the most common because they involve parts or structures of the body that require the most time to adapt to keep up with the specific demands of running.
Generally, it should take 8-12 weeks to reach 5K without stopping. However, many people believe they can achieve this sooner and push their bodies to injury. In addition, running every day will not speed up your progress toward that 5K; it will just increase your chances of developing an injury. The key to running success is to take your time until your joints and muscles become accustomed to the routine; then, you can increase your mileage faster and more frequently.
The Addition of Physiotherapy
Your physiotherapist will assess your gait, posture, old injuries, and how tight your muscles are, which could lead to more immediate injuries. With this assessment, they will provide you with a specific routine in relation to your needs. The purpose is to reduce or prevent injuries to have a safe and efficient foundation to meet your running goals. Your physiotherapist will monitor you as you complete the correct exercises to recover. They may provide you with manual therapy or other techniques proven to manage the precise injuries or technical issues specific to you. Then, they will adjust your plan as you improve.
Physiotherapists will also have tips about how you can recover faster from races. This will keep you feeling your best and allow you to maintain consistent training.
Preventing Injuries Will Keep You Ahead of The Game
The average running injury can take 8-16 weeks to heal. Rushing this timeline can make matters worse because inflammation requires time and patience to settle. No quick fixes or magic pills will speed up this process, so you may lose significant weeks unable to train. Your focus will be on how you can heal and what you will need to be aware of moving forward, not improving your running time or endurance.
The Good News
The good news is runners are passionate about running. It is a great way to stay fit and improve your mood, and who doesn’t want to be a part of this movement? Let’s collaborate and discover how you can be in the best shape to run.
If you are in the Mississauga area and this spring weather has you in the mood to run, contact us. We can support your goals with physiotherapy for runners.