How to Improve Your Running Performance

An experienced runner knows that their main objective revolves around staying in top physical condition with an emphasis on avoiding injury. While accomplishing fitness goals and staying active are high on the list as well, these feats cannot be accomplished if there’s an obstruction preventing you from performing at full efficiency. Undergoing a runner’s analysis could be a crucial measure in the prevention of inabilities caused by serious injury. Discover how a runner’s analysis can improve running performance and teach you something you may not have known about your body.

The Goal of a Runner’s Analysis

The human body is capable of running through the collaborative efforts of multiple internal functions acting in unison. Even though your body may be physically able to run, it doesn’t entirely mean that your body will support the way you run. A runner’s analysis inspires safe running to give individuals information about their running style, body movement, and structure. Similar to a bike-fitting, this diagnostic test will analyze the runner’s natural movement. The test will show the runner an in-depth view of how they run and what corrections need to be made to support functional efficiency with running.

How is a Runner’s Analysis Performed?

The runner will step onto a treadmill outfitted with a camera to record the movements of entire body, focusing on the lower extremities and feet during motion. The detailed video may be slowed down by your physical therapist to view each stage of running. This way, they can identify the triggers that may be directly causing setbacks – such as reoccurring injury – throughout your activity. After the analysis is complete, the physical therapist will review the results and prescribe any corrective exercises or treatment that may be needed. This may include changes to shoewear. If shoewear or other changes are recommended, a follow-up video will be recorded with the new shoes to compare differences and improvement.

Analyzing Your Pronation Type

Pronation means the direction your foot rolls as it makes contact with a surface as you run or walk. This will analyze how your body deals with weight distribution during mobile activities. The runner’s analysis camera will record a short video as you step onto the treadmill and begin to run forward. The camera is angled to capture footage of the back of your feet – from the calf to the heel – for the best perspective of your pronation. The three types of pronation are briefly described below.

  • Overpronation: The foot rolls inward and does not correct its alignment due to a low arch or flat feet.
  • Underpronation: The foot hits the ground on an outward rolling angle due to a high arched foot.
  • Neutral Pronation: The foot lands on the outer edge then correctly rolls inward in a controlled manner. This is the optimal distribution of pressure while running.

Injuries Due to Unnatural Pronation

It’s important to note the injuries that may occur with ill-fitting equipment and the lack of professional assistance. Problematic pronation alignments can cause the following injuries for runners.

  • Ankle Strains
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Shin Splints
  • Knee Pain
  • Hip Pain
  • Heel Spurs
  • Back Pain

Custom Orthotics for Chicago Runners

Even though a runner’s analysis is highly successful in its diagnostic accuracy, your physical therapist may want to go the extra mile and provide you with a secondary means of foot support. Custom foot orthotics may be recommended in addition to your new running shoes. Orthotics replace the inserts that come with your shoe to give the bottoms of your feet the feeling of natural support. Your new inserts can help further compensate imbalances, reduce fatigue, and eliminate painful conditions in the feet altogether. In short, it’s just one more way a runner can protect their body and avoid potential injury.

IMPACT Your Running Performance Today

Protecting your body while running begins with understanding your feet. Often times you cannot control the way your body is structured, but precautionary measures must be taken with professional guidance and supervision. A runner’s analysis is just one of the many diagnostic fitness services in Chicago available through IMPACT Physical Therapy. Contact us at any office location to request a wellness or injury screening and truly impact your life.