Running Assessments

What are Running Assessments?

Running Assessments, are they just for avid runners are zealots for the sport? They are highly passionate and engaged in optimizing their peak performance, unfortunately with that comes a high risk of injury. Statistics show as many as 50% of runners experience some form of pain and injury every year which affects their ability to perform.

Here are just a few of the injuries runners may suffer from:

  • Achilles tendinitis or rupture
  • Ankle sprains
  • Blisters
  • Iliotibial band syndrome (IT Band Syndrome)
  • Patellar tendinitis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Shin splints
  • Strained muscles
  • Stress fractures

As the sport advances and grows, so does the technology. As with most sports, the tools, equipment, and gear used can make a world of difference in how one performs. In fact, today there are more running products to choose from than ever before. Getting the right fit shoes, the right gear, and the right education on nutrition and hydration are all components to help the runner perform at the top of their game.

Despite all the fancy gear, pain, discomfort, and injuries still occur. Many runners today recognize the grueling affects the sport can have on their bodies. Runners look for ways to minimize their risk of injuries as much as they look for ways to improve their performance.

Running assessments have become more popular today amongst runners. They recognize that staying fit and healthy while running goes way above and beyond the gear used. The technique of running is not art at all, but instead mostly science. The assessment of joint alignment, body mechanics, muscle strength, and more go into the objectivity of injury prevention for running.

The results of a running assessment can help prevent a major injury. If you are already injured, don’t sweat it as rehabilitation coupled with a running assessment can not only help you return to the sport, but in fact in may even prevent future injuries.

What to expect from a Running Assessment

Running assessments can be done as a standalone visit or coupled with rehabilitation. If you are a runner looking to prevent an injury and enhance your performance, then a running assessment maybe all you need.

If you are in pain or have an injury, then most likely rehabilitation should be coupled with the running assessment. In this case, treatment will start prior to any assessment being done. Your physical therapist (PT) will complete a full evaluation and establish a plan of care with you. The focus will be on decreasing pain while increasing strength, flexibility, and endurance. When your PT determines it is time, he or she will complete a running assessment with you.

Regardless if you are getting a running assessment for performance or for injury prevention, running assessments are performed the same. Expect to be placed on a treadmill and the PT will record you running for a period of time. Running speeds will vary and the PT will give you direct feedback while recording live. Once the assessment is done, the PT will review with you the recording and his or her analysis.

Your PT will look for biomechanics of your running. They monitor your hips, knees, and foot placement. They look for joint alignment, muscle control, and proper foot landing. Upon review and based on your performance, your PT will provide you with a plethora of information. Including the right exercises, the right running technique to work on, and provide you feedback on proper shoe wear.

Trained PTs are highly skilled in running assessments. They have years of training in anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics of the body. Couple their background with experience and passion for running, and you get a highly-qualified running coach to help you perform to your peak.

After the analysis, your PT will work with you specifically on strengthening, flexibility, endurance and mobility exercises to help improve your running gait and overall performance. He or she will also provide you an expert opinion on the shoe that is best for you.

In some cases, when needed, your PT can also fit you for shoe inserts (orthotics). Overall, a PT can provide you with a comprehensive running assessment. The other advantage is that PTs don’t work for any vendors who want to sell you their products. They are a neutral expert only here to provide you with the best advice.

Is a running assessment right for you?

If you are a runner either looking to enhance your performance, prevent an injury, or are injured, it is recommended you complete a running assessment. Running assessments have become very popular so do your homework in finding the right fit for you.

Checkout the qualifications of the person performing the assessment. Make sure they have training in understanding the human anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics. Just because someone may be an avid runner themselves does not make them the right person to perform an assessment. Do your homework.

If you are injured, we highly recommend getting treatment from a PT. He or she can rehabilitate you back to running safely. He or she can also complete a running assessment for you. Trained PTs are highly qualified to perform a running assessment. They can provide much more depth and knowledge to the assessment than most.

Most states have direct access to a physical therapist, meaning you can go directly to a physical therapist without a physician order. To determine if your state has direct access, please visit the American Physical Therapy Association’s website Physical Therapy Direct Access By State.

Not all PTs perform running assessments. To find a qualified PT near you, please click on the following link (FOTO PT database link). This link will help you find a highly-qualified running expert PT.

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