The annual incidence of injuries for runners varies in the literature. It’s estimated that between 24-55% of runners will experience an injury. The main factors leading to injury are having a previous injury, increasing speed, and being a less experienced runner.
Nearly 80% of all running injuries involve structures from the waist down. Sprinters tend to get muscle strains and problems with tendonitis. Middle distance runners generally have more low back and hip problems. And long distance runners tend to deal mainly with foot problems. Up to 60% of injuries are attributed to training errors and in particular a rapid increase in miles and intensity.
Muscle imbalances with flexibility and strength can be a key factor in injuries. By doing the appropriate exercises, injuries can sometimes be prevented. Physical therapy can also help in dealing with a current injury and also with preventive treatment as you begin to train for an event.
Today, let’s hit on some of the more traditional functional strength assessments. I’ll list some of them here:
- Full squat (double leg squat & partial single leg squat)
- Forward lunge at 45 degrees of knee flexion and to full at 90 degrees
- Balance in single leg stance with eyes open and with eyes closed
- Toe and heel walk
- Vertical jump
- Distance jump (single leg & double leg)
- Backward walk
We use these and other tests to get an idea of functional strength. Results guide us in designing a preventive exercise program or in treating an existing injury.
In Part 2, I’ll introduce some specific strength drills that you can try at home. Your results from that experiment will be used to establish a short routine that you can carry out at home or at the gym. And in part 3 of this series, I’ll outline dynamic tests and treatments that you may find helpful.
For now, Get Your Run On!