Running - Can It Do More Harm Than Good?

It's officially running season! For so many people it's their preferred method of exercise - it's cheap, can be done anywhere, great for cardiovascular fitness and calorie burning, etc. However, important to make sure this activity is actually benefitting you and isn't going to causing you problems down the line. 

It's important to acknowledge the fact that running is very repetitive. Your body is constantly moving forward, therefore, your limbs are constantly moving in the same way and your trunk is held comparatively static. This can cause overuse injuries of muscles or joints - most commonly shin splints, ITB irritation, hamstring tendinitis, hip bursitis, or groin pain. As your body is moving in one direction, it only moves in one out of the three planes of movement. Therefore, the muscles that control joint and bone motion in this plane are the ones that tend to become overly active and breakdown when problems arise.

How do we fix this? We need to make sure that our bodies move in ALL THREE planes of motion! This can be done in many ways. First of all, taking steps to ensure activation and motion in the other planes of motions is paramount to maintaining a healthy body. Postural Restoration is a form of physical therapy makes this tri-planar motion the heart of our rehabilitation effort. When you come in for your evaluation at Integrate 360, we assess your body's musculoskeletal position and integrated strength. This will help us assess where the body is not moving appropriately and restore strength throughout the body so all of the parts work together well.

We will also make sure you are able to breathe appropriately when running. Not only does proper use of the diaphragm dictate whether or not tri-planar motion is even a possibility, but compensated breathing patterns stress other muscles of the body as well as limit your cardiovascular endurance. If you are not able to breathe comfortably through your nose and out of your mouth for the duration of your run, you are not allowing yourself to achieve maximum performance and setting yourself up for an injury in the future.

Wearing appropriate running shoes is also a game changer. Not any running shoe will do. They need to have the proper amount of structure that your foot needs to maintain a good, stable foundation for the rest of your body to work off of while running. Not only will the shoes set you up for mechanical success, they will also help your feet to feel where they are on the ground and help to activate and/or inhibit the proper muscle groups at the appropriate time.

Having the right glasses or contacts in while running also makes a significant difference. It's important to have a prescription on that allows your to see distance well. This allows you to see the world around you which allows your body to anticipate the environment ahead and prepare on how to handle it from a mechanical standpoint. Proper distance vision also allows your body to "unlock" or "relax" and promote tri-planar movement. If you're using monovision contact lenses, progresses lenses, or even bifocal lenses, you could also be setting yourself up for compensated movement and a future injury.

For more, check out our recommended shoe list here.

What are some things you can keep in mind while running to promote tri-planar movement? Look at this list of tips from the PRI website here.

Want an evaluation to see the current condition of your body and personalized rehab to get on your A game? Call Integrate 360 Physical Therapy and 314-733-5000 or email or