I have long said that most running injuries are not running injuries at all, they are overweight injuries. Now I have support for that view from a report titled “Risk Factors and Mechanisms of Knee Injuries in Runners.” Here’s the abstract:
Injuries affect approximately 65% of all runners annually. Many of these injuries are considered overuse or chronic (e.g. plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis/strains, knee pain/injury, etc.). Interestingly, most of the information available on the factors responsible for injury is somewhat speculative since few studies have conclusively identified the mechanisms behind such injuries. In a recent study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, researchers at Wake Forest University determined the relationship of some behavioral and physiological risk factors to knee joint stresses during running.
Twenty previously uninjured runners were assessed on numerous variables including quadriceps and hamstring flexibility, quadriceps or Q-angle, and height and weight. Researchers performed gait analysis to evaluate stride lengths and to determine tibio-femoral (knee) compressive loads, performed isokinetic strength testing on the knee extensors, and participants completed questionnaires.
Of the variables tested, researchers reported that poor hamstring flexibility, increased body weight, higher weekly mileage and greater concentric muscle strength all contributed to greater knee stress. Although previous studies have linked higher Q-angles to knee injuries in runners, the results of this and other studies question that link.
In addition, previous studies have shown strength training reduces patello-femoral forces, but the results of this study indicate that concentric strength increases tibio-femoral compression. Further studies are necessary to determine the balance of strength factors necessary to optimize knee joint health in runners. Based on current research trends, it seems as though it would be wise for runners to improve hamstring flexibility and to achieve an ideal body weight prior to increasing weekly mileage.
That last sentence is an understatement! I know I, for one, see a direct correlation between my own ease and enjoyment of running, not to mention injury prevention, and both flexibility and body weight. Perhaps you have noticed the same.
Coaching Inquiries: What assists you to be active, strong, and well? How can you improve your flexibility and body weight? What dynamic stretches and mindfulness exercises could assist you to become more happily engaged with life?
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May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
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CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
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