Running is a sport that many enjoy. People run for different reasons. Some run to compete, to get fit, to socialise, to improve mental health and some people just love to run. It is important to understand these reasons when approaching a running assessment.

Distances and Running Assessments

There are many different types of running races such as a marathon (42km), middle distance races (800m-3000m), 5km races, half marathons (21km), trail, athletics such as hurdles, high jumpers and throwing.

For an effective runner’s assessment to be done, it is recommended that you track your pace, cadence (your type of running rhythm) and stride. You need to be aware of your running experience and the type of strength training that you do (if any) and your goals for running.

Diagram of the bones in the elbow to help target lateral elbow pain

Factors to consider for a runner’s assessment

The running gait cycle (repetitive type and range of motion) is like a walking gait cycle. However, running requires greater balance, joint range of movement and more muscle strength. Therefore, having an ability to walk does not mean you can run. Running involves a lot of biomechanical impact (the study movement and structure) on your hips, knees and ankles and also requires strength from the muscles and tendons around these joints.

Many running injuries stem from the types of running style. The common running styles are:

  • Overstriding: This is when your foot lands in front of your centre of mass (body). It is different from a long stride length because of the position of your foot in relation to your centre of mass. This is most associated with pain in front of the knee and tibial fracture (the tibia is your shin bone).
  • Collapsing: This is when the hip has excessive inward rotation, adduction and knee valgus (knee collapses inwards). The main complaint is knocking knees and pain on the outside of the hip and in front of the knee.
  • Weaving: This is when the knees cross the mid-line excessively. It is associated with Iliotibial band pathologies and tibial fractures. (Iliotibial band syndrome occurs when the tough band of tissue (iliotibial band) that extends from the pelvic bone to the shinbone becomes so tight that it rubs the thighbone causing irritation and swelling.)
  • Bouncing: This is when the runner excessively moves up and down. This is often associated with tibial fractures and shin splints.
  • Glut amnesiac: This is when the runner has weak glutes (the muscles in the buttocks) and therefore adopts and more upright leaning back posture. This increases the load on the joints.

Choices for runners’ shoes

Another important consideration to running effectively is the choice of running shoes. Aspects like the shoe material, width, and weight should be considered when buying a running shoe. Details like the stack height, the heel to toe drop and the flexibility of the shoes play a role in how you run. If these are not properly matched to your running style, they can contribute to many running injuries. Your shoes should be fitted to you and your anatomy, whether you need a neutral shoe, stability shoe or motion control shoe. If you are new runner, it recommended that you consult a professional before deciding on the type of shoes you would like to buy to ensure they are the perfect match for you.

If you are suffering from injury, we recommend professional help and a runner’s assessment. Contact one of our physiotherapists for an evaluation and diagnosis.