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How to prevent marathon training and running injuries

The next step in my preparation for the Paris marathon was to have a running injury prevention screening. At Wandsworth Physiotherapy and Osteopathy we do a Run Fit Assessment to look at various things that can lead to problems if not corrected. This includes foot posture, movement screening, flexibility testing, strength testing and pelvic mechanics assessment.

Running injury prevention movement screen

Steve carried out my Run Fit. The first part of my assessment looked at my foot posture. Foot posture is extremely important for runners. Every foot strike sends anywhere from 7-9 times your body load through your foot and ankle. Consider a half marathon could include somewhere around 20,000 steps, that’s approx 10,000 impacts per foot.

If your foot mechanics, strength and flexibility are not optimal this could be disastrous for your training. I have a history of foot pain and have had some surgery in the past so this part of the assessment was really interesting for me. My foot posture was slightly pronated.

Foot posture

Based on this part of my assessment Steve recommenced I see our podiatrist Jack for a more in-depth assessment of my feet (more on that another time)…

Next, my movement patterns were assessed. Steve was looking for the control and flexibility of my single leg squat. I should be nicely up and down without excessive pronation of my foot, dipping inwards of my knee or swinging out of my hip. These are all faulty movements that are seen in injured runners. My movement wasn’t too bad but I did pronate at the foot and dip in at the knee slightly.

Lastly, Steve was assessing my hopping pattern. I should be able to do at least 30 hops per leg with a good spring through the foot and ankle, good stable movement through the knee and hip and no pain. I managed 30 hops per leg with a pressure sensation in each foot.

Movement screening

Treatment for running injuries

Next in the Run Fit screening was flexibility testing. Here I’m having the flexibility around my ankles, knees and hips assessed – namely the calfs, glutes, hamstrings, quads, hip rotators and IT band. The knee to wall test looks at calf and Achilles flexibility, which is important to allow my foot to dorsiflex through the gait cycle. I had slightly tight calfs. Based on this part of the assessment I don’t need much stretching in my home exercise plan, and sports massage is not essential for me, but I am getting regular sports massage more to manage the discomfort in my legs after my longer runs.

Flexibility testing

Next my strength was tested, Steve mainly looked at the strength of my glutes (Meduis and Maximus), quads and ankle rotators. I did show up with some weakness in the glute muscles and strengthening these muscles were the mainstay of my home exercise programme.

Finally I had my pelvic mechanics assessed. Here Steve is looking at the symmetry of movement of my pelvis and how I am able to transfer load through my pelvis. Luckily everything with my pelvic mechanics was aligned, moving well and well balanced. However this is another area that can cause issues with runners if not address.

Pelvic mechanics

So on the back of my run fit assessment I need a podiatry assessment with Jack, to get some sports massage to manage my tight calfs and my post run soreness and I have a home exercise programme, to work on calf flexibility and glute strength.

Marathon training injuries

If you’re struggling with a running injury and want an ultrasound scan and discuss the treatment or the option of an injection for pain relief call 0203 322 9455.

About Wandsworth Physiotherapy

infoAt Wandsworth Physiotherapy and Osteopathy we are focused on getting you out of pain and back to what you love doing. Whether it's playing with your kids or simply being able to sit on the train comfortably; whether it's being able to get back into the gym class or to run 5k again; whether it's to banish the Tena Lady or being able to lift your child without pain our expert physiotherapists and osteopaths are here to help.