I went to my first CEU Course this past weekend. In order to maintain licensure, I must obtain a bunch of CEUs in order to stay “up to date” on the latest and greatest trends, treatments, and information in relation to the PT World. The nice thing about CEUs is that you can select topics that pique your interest; whereas in school you have no choice in topic selection. The course I went to was an entire day devoted to Running. I learned the best ways to analyze gait patterns, correct form, modify form based on various camps of thought, diagnose injury, come up with new treatment plans, administer K-Taping techniques, and how PT’s can be more involved in the running community.
I came back from the course very inspired and ready to put my knowledge into action. My first project is going to be helping my Mom change her running form in order to decrease stress on her low back. There is some rhyme and reason to the whole “heel striking is bad” theory from all the studies we looked at this weekend.
When done correctly, like Meb Keflezghi, a heel strike does not ellicit a “spike” in the force that must be attenuated through the limb and body.
But when done incorrectly, like how I USED to run, it can lead to injuries down the road. The main difference between Meb and my old form is twofold: 1) He is ridiculously fast, awesome, humble, has lots of sponsorships, awards, sweetness, running ninja skills and 2) He lands his heel strike on a slightly flexed knee. I never landed on a slightly flexed knee. Instead I chose to land on a firmly extended knee like a big idiot.
So moral of the story is, if you are going to heel strike, flex your knee. Heel striking isn’t necessarily evil voodoo magic, an extended knee while doing so is. If anyone ever has any questions about their running form, injuries, or needs advice on why it’s important to not have a farmer’s tan when running in a sports bra, you can always e-mail me. This stuff really interests me and I like to put it to good use!