Updated 04/05/2013 05:00 AM
Healthy Living: Runners assessment
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Whether you are a competitive runner or just do it as a hobby, knowing which muscles to stretch and how can make it it better.
Over-running causes most running injuries which includes knee pain, achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. Muscle imbalance, improper training techniques as well as the wrong running shoe increases the risk of injuries.
Physical therapist Dominick Marchesiello assesses runners to get them on the right track. First, he measures how flexible the hamstrings are.
My hamstrings are pretty flexible, but I didn't score so well on the IT band test.
Marchesiello said, "Your IT band goes from band from up here to the hip, the muscles form this big thick band that goes from your hip all the way down to the outside part of your knee. We want to see how tight that is, and how we do that is by hooking the IT band around the hip to see how much this drops down. This would be a positive test, meaning you have tightness in your IT band."
Next I am tested for range of motion in my ankle, calve and strength in my hips, or the lack there of. I do this with doing stepping overs. He found a slight weakness in one of my hips I have to tend to.
The wrong running shoe can lead to achilles tendonitis. Knowing if you have a high or low arch will help choose the right fit for a running shoe. Over-pronation can be another factor in injuries.
Marchesiello said, "The plantar fascia is the broad band of tendons at the bottom of the foot. If you are flat footed there are different types of stress in terms of the plantar fascia as well as the achilles tendon, so if you have the right type of support in your footwear, that can decrease the stress and the irritation to your plantar fascia as well as your achilles tendon."
My IT bands and quadriceps were tight. This stretch with one leg off the bench the other to the chest will help.
Hamstrings tight? This stretch, leaning forward with heels on ground, works. So in order to put your best foot forward, learn how and what you need to stretch.