Running Biomechanics

Why is biomechanical assessment useful for runners? 

Research carried out by Chris Bramah (Physiotherapist) and discussed on BJSM podcast has identified the following: 

  • Biomechanical movement patterns are found to contribute to a number of common running conditions 

  • ALL RUNNERS had an elevated contralateral pelvic drop level 

  • ALL RUNNERS had a forward leaning trunk posture 

  • ALL RUNNERS at initial contact all runners are landing with an outstretched limb characterised by extended knee and dorsiflexed ankle 

  • These movement patterns lead to global tissue stress – a major cause of injury. 

This information is CLINICALLY RELEVANT because these kinetic patterns are easily identified by physiotherapists (often a runner can see the pattern themselves when recorded or running on a treadmill in front of a mirror), and can be improved or corrected. This approach has great potential to be used as a preventative method to reduce long-term running injuries and is certainly applied in elite and professional sport. 

Physiotherapists will assess the runner and take an investigative approach – considering biomechanics, training load and programmes, and previous injury history to identify where or why the acute rise in tissue stress has occurred. It is this tissue stress which is usually the cause of the injury. 

Physiotherapy intervention will then be focused towards correcting, modifying or affecting the tissue stress, reducing the load or stress going through the tissue or enabling the tissue to adapt to cope better with the load. This means that you can expect to continue to exercise in some format throughout your rehabilitation – in fact the age-old advice of ‘resting’ an injury is usually the worst thing you can do! 

runningEmma Bradleyrunning