Have you ever tried to run with a cast on your ankle? Probably not- well, hopefully not. It would be an almost impossible task, but you likely could manage. Your pace would be slower, you probably wouldn’t go as far, breathing would be heavy, and your stride would be out of sync.
Let’s think for a second about how you would envision yourself running if you were in optimal shape, without a cast to slow you down. Your breath would be rhythmic, your stride would be wide and smooth- you would float between steps, your pace would be fast but comfortable, and you would run for so long that you forget what it is like to not be running. That sounds like a much more ideal run than the first, right?
You may not have a true cast on your ankle and you may be quite happy with your strides, but you may be running with faulty patterns and imbalances. With that being said, what if we could truly evaluate your gait/biomechanics and make real changes and improvements upon them? Your run could be as perfect as your vision.
So what about these imbalances and faulty patterns?
Well, many running specific injuries and dysfunctions are caused by a lack of motion in a certain area of the body. Many times this is due to restrictions within the joints of the spine, hips, or even feet/ankles (the foot and ankle together contain 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 100 muscles/ligaments). When there are restrictions, or lack of motion, in your joints it causes your brain to go into defense mode to protect them. It does this by locking down the area through tightening up the surrounding muscles. Over time this causes muscle and fascial adhesions, trigger points, chronic inflammation and pain, and eventually causes other muscles in the area to turn off and stop firing appropriately.
Now think back to the first example of the cast on your ankle. This time think about that cast not as a hard, physical object, but as a biomechanical cast placed on the area by your brain. Think about how that can effect your entire lower body while walking, climbing stairs, and performing your normal daily activities. You wouldn’t be able to toe-off and strike your heel like you normally would, effecting your gait pattern. Your knee and hip wouldn’t move the same way they normally would, either, causing lack of motion to some areas while causing excess motion to other areas. With this in mind, maybe now you can envision how this would effect you even more while running. Imagine the biomechanical strain placed on your body if you are running 3-5 miles multiple times per week for a year. What if you were training for a marathon? And, while this may be an extreme example, over time, even the smallest misalignments and improper movement patterns can have a huge effect on your body.
This is where we come in.
Sports chiropractors look for imbalances throughout the body during movement and while stationary. These imbalances can be found in muscle, ligaments, joints, and nerve communication. We are trained to assess and treat them through adjustments, muscle work (you may be familiar with ART, FAKTR or Graston techniques), exercise, kinesiology taping, and biomechanical improvements. Sports-based chiropractors also have specialized training in the prevention and treatment of sport-specific injuries, along with improving muscle firing patterns and gait rhythm.
Chiropractic treatment can restore proper movement patterns and relieve those mechanical loads throughout the body. This not only improves gait patterns and movement, but also improves strength and endurance, increases speed, reduces fatigue, and even relieves pain. Most importantly, chiropractic care prevents injury to keep you doing what you love at your peak potential.
For more information about how chiropractic can help you, please call, email, or book a consultation online today.