By Jason Schneider
If you’re a runner, you’re probably eager to get outdoors and enjoy the warm weather. It’s important, though, to make sure you’re running at your best, and using the correct technique to avoid injury.
“Runners often focus incorrectly on muscular effort to move faster,” said Thomas Minton, PT, Cert. MDT, CRTS, Certified Running Technique Specialist with CarePartners Outpatient Therapy Clinic. “This actually results in injury and slower performance.”
Using the correct technique when running, said Minton, improves performance, prevents and treats pain and injuries, and improves overall endurance. “Basically, what is good for the body is the same thing that is good for performance,” he added.
Minton offers a running analysis – an evaluation of the client’s current running condition, running history, goals and any running-related problems or injuries. “We perform a standard physical therapy evaluation and then perform a running gait analysis,” he said. “Gait analyses are performed in a real environment that simulates the way an athlete actually performs … on the ground and not on an artificial surface such as a treadmill.”
Running since a freshman in college, Mindy Alexander of Asheville decided to see Minton for a running analysis after a co-worker recommended him. “I had been ramping up my miles on hilly terrain and had been experiencing sharp knee pain that was persistent,” she said. “I had taken time off from running, but the pain continued when I attempted to start again.”
Minton evaluated Alexander before making a diagnosis. Once the diagnosis – bilateral patellar tendonitis – was made, “he addressed the need for rest and strengthening to prevent a reoccurrence,” she said.
Minton also discussed with her why the problem developed, what her goals were and what she wanted to achieve with her running. “At this point, he began to analyze and video my running pattern on flat [terrain] and hills to pinpoint how I was currently running, and then again after we worked on new running techniques,” said Alexander. “I really liked that we did not use a treadmill for analysis, since that is not where I run. We focused a lot on technique and running exercises that I could practice on my own, then come back for further instruction.”
Following his advice, Alexander started doing short distances, building up to longer runs. She entered and finished a few trail races, including a “mountainous 20-miler.”
“My hope as a runner is that I’m still running when I’m 80, so it’s important to me to prevent injury and maintain my fitness levels, which I have been able to do with my new running technique that Thomas helped me achieve,” said Alexander.
For a running analysis, contact Thomas Minton, PT, Cert. MDT, CRTS, at the CarePartners Outpatient Therapy Clinic at (828) 213-0850, option 1.