by Keith Donato, D.C.
To many, running and injuries just seem to be an inevitability many runners just accept. The repetitive nature of running invites injury by causing changes in movement and function over time. The downward spiral of symptoms can seem like it came out of nowhere but in general, the seeds were planted long before a runner shows up to my office for care. Being ahead of the game is the key.
In the 20+ years that I've been treating running and overuse related injuries, my motto has always been "Treat the Cause, Not the Symptoms." While providing relief of the obvious and most noticeable symptoms can assist with reducing inflammation and muscle spasm, getting to the mechanical flaw to improve movement and function while educating the patient are the best goals for long term, injury free running. It's important to assess areas peripheral to the pain as dysfunction in other joints and/or muscles can be at the root of the injury.
As provider of Active Release Techniques (A.R.T.), a medically patented soft tissue technique, my treatments are focused on isolating and minimizing the effects of scar tissue and adhesions (think "knots") that develop in overused soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves) generally at the root of many running injuries. The beginning stage is a loss of normal flexibility in the affected muscle, which ultimately affect running gait and lead to discomfort, pain and/or time off from the activity. Assisting patients on not only what causes an injury or dysfunction, but on ways to become better at identifying when is the best time to reduce miles and on ways to self manage to keep themselves out on the roads injury free is a priority in my practice. A smarter runner is always a better runner!
Along with functional assessment and soft tissue techniques, I use my years of personal training and corrective exercise experience to implement a management plan to educate patients on techniques such as self massage and foam rolling and proper sequencing to maximize function. Yes, I'm not one who is going to be too keen on a runner walking out the front door, not stretching and going for a 5 miler.
I'm very excited about this column and the opportunity to discuss the injuries common to the running community. My goal is to provide useful and practical information that will be helpful to not only the injured runner but also to the athlete trying to avoid the doctor's office. Many of the injuries I regularly treat can be avoided with attention and diligence being paid to some simple techniques and exercises. Also, I'd like anyone to feel free to contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or suggestions for topics of interest.
A Licensed Doctor of Chiropractic
• Has 13 years experience in personal training and massage therapy
• Has been full-body certified in Active Release Techniques (ART) for 13 years
• Is a member of the ART Elite Provider Network (EPN)
• Is an official treatment team member for Ironman Triathlons