Chiropractic for Runners

With more and more people taking up recreational running in the US, the number of running associated injuries has also increased. Commonly reported cases include shin splints, patellofermoral pain syndromes, Achilles tendinitis, flat feet, and compartmental syndromes and stress fractures. All these injuries are a result of cumulative stress reactions to soft tissues and bones. While running, the musculoskeletal system may absorb up to 250-300% of the runner’s weight on the heel strike, and this exerts stress on the body.

running injury

Chiropractors can help to alleviate pain and non-specific symptoms associated with running, usually from the gradual onset of regular stress on the soft tissues and bones. If these symptoms are caught early, they can then be effectively managed and reduced in a short period of time. Chiropractic treatment can help excessive pronation, the inward rolling of the hind foot and the midfoot beyond the acceptable parameters of general walking and running; prolonged internal rotation of the internal extremity, the inward rotation of the femur, which transmits stress to the pelvic region; and excessive supination, and those with very high arches who are very sensitive to stress reactions and fractures.  

While chiropractic treatment can help with pain and injuries, its biggest advantage to runners and athletes is preventive care. Many runners, athletes and non-athletes may ask – why pay for chiropractic treatment when there is no pain to treat? It’s much easier to maintain good health and prevent injury than to treat somebody already in pain. The danger with running injuries is that they are likely to be caused by repetitive stress and alignment problems that take time to develop, and an even longer time for the pain to start. If our bodies stayed in perfect alignment, then we would be able to cope with the regular stress running delivers. However, very few of us have perfect alignment, and in many cases those with flat feet or high arches are at risk to extra cumulative stress to the body.

In preventive cases, Dr. Carly can give a good overall evaluation, teaching the patient how to prevent injuries and maintain good alignment – thereby reducing the chance of injury. For those looking for preventive treatment, she can help assess and evaluate your condition by offering scans of your feet, testing for strength imbalances and an analysis of your posture. In addition, the chiropractor can also suggest a program suited to your needs to prevent injury in the future.

Every body is different. If you have questions about this article or whether chiropractic is an appropriate choice for your specific situation, please ask. We are here to help!


What is the best warm-up for running?

Although a thorough warm-up may add time to your workout, it is an important part of your routine and should not be skipped or skimped upon. Runners who do not adequately warm up prior to training are at greater risk of injury and poor performance. Ann Alayanak, a coach from the University of Dayton who earned seventh place at the U.S. Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials in 2008 says, “A proper warm-up increases heart rate, breathing rate, and blood flow to the muscles. It prepares the body for increasingly vigorous activity, allows it to work more efficiently and reduces injury risk by loosening you up.”

Following are some recommendations from the American Running Association for the best warm-up exercises to prepare you for running, whether you are only a casual runner or are training for the Olympics:

  1. Keeping your legs slightly bent, jump rope for a few minutes, landing on the balls of your feet and flexing your ankles to push off the ground.
  2. Starting with your knees bent at about 30 degrees, slowly lower yourself into a half-squat, and slowly rise up again. Repeat 5 times.
  3. With your knees flexed about 45 degrees, hop approximately 3 feet from side to side, keeping your knees flexed and landing as lightly as possible.
  4. Stand on a surface that is slanted upwards, rise up onto the balls of your feet and hold the position for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
  5. Walk or sprint up and down a set of stairs. If stairs are not readily available, you can use a box for stepping up and down.
  6. Put your hand on a chair (or a wall) next to you for balance and raise one leg while simultaneously bending the opposite knee until you are in a half-squat on one leg. Repeat with the opposite leg, then do another 15 to 20 reps.
  7. While leaning with your back to a wall, with your feet approximately a foot away from it, lift your toes and the balls of your feet as high as you can, pivoting from the ankle. Lower your toes near the floor, without touching it, then lift them again. After repeating this 15 to 20 times, rest for 20 seconds, and do another set.
  8. Do 10 sets of lunges, alternating legs each time. Try to keep your knee from bending more than 90 degrees, keeping the knee positioned directly above your heel. The leg behind you should be slightly bent.
  9. Starting with your knees slightly bent, dip down then jump up as high as possible, coming down with your knees bent, and immediately jumping up again. Continue jumping up and down like this 10 times, then rest for about 30 seconds and repeat the set once or twice more.