Like all the muscles in our body, the heart needs to be exercised regularly in order to be in tip-top condition, and the way many people choose to give their ticker a workout is to slip on some trainers and hit the streets for a run.
More than 2 million people in the UK now run at least once a week to keep fit, making it Britain’s second most popular non-gym exercise behind cycling. If you add in those who clock up the miles on a treadmill, the number of regular runners in the UK multiples significantly.
Unfortunately, there’s a good chance the majority of those we see jogging around the streets are heading for a very painful future because, like most things, there’s a right and wrong way to do things – and most of us have never learned how to run safely.
Physiotherapy is great for sorting out sports injuries, but at West 1 Physio we want to do as much as we can to help our clients stay injury-free. That means making sure the people we treat have all the right information to protect their muscles and joints.
For starters, we know that there are very few non-professional athletes who run ‘straight’. Obviously, when we say ‘straight’, we’re not talking about running in a straight line. It’s about way people run – or, more specifically, their gait.
Gait is crucial to good musculoskeletal health. If you run ‘crooked’ you put extra pressure on some joints and over time this will lead to problems – and where your joints are concerned, problems usually mean pain.
At West 1 Physio we have state-of-the-art high-speed video gait analysis equipment that can assess your gait, identify problems and give you the information and help you need to correct your running posture to take pressure off your body.
In video gait analysis we film you running and then we sit down with you and replay the film in slow motion, taking a frame-by-frame look at your running style and showing you exactly how you use your muscles, where the pressure points are likely to be and what you can do to improve your technique.
Once you know where the issues are, and you’ve been given a progressive rehabilitation plan to correct them, you’ll be much better able to change your running style to ensure you’ve got the best chance of avoiding recurring or chronic pain in the future.
And of course, the long-term benefit of video gait analysis extends beyond making your running style safer and more effective – it also means you’re more able to make a new gait part of everyday movement, too.
Video gait analysis is just one of the tools we use to help our clients stay injury-free. Sports injuries – and particularly running injuries – can also often be caused by not having the right footwear.
If you participate in high intensity and come and see us for video gait analysis, we’ll also talk to you about the equipment you use and how you use it, and what footwear you use, giving you advice on any changes that we’d recommend you make.
Exercise is really important and we’d always recommend our clients are incorporating exercise into their daily routines in order to stay healthy – but it’s vital that people exercise safely and at West 1, Physio, our aim is to ensure our clients have all the information they need to be able to do that.
If you’d like to speak to us about video gait analysis – or if you’d just like some advice about other steps you can take to look after yourself when you exercise – please get in touch.