Welcome to the #LifeCantWait Blog, SPEAR Physical Therapy’s official stream for fitness tips, exercise advice, and healthy lifestyle inspiration. Our articles and features are written by our physical therapists and staff members with your progress in mind. Designed to educate and motivate, SPEAR’s #LifeCantWait Blog exists to share your stories and help you get back to life! Disclaimer
Ever wondered how to improve your running? Well, there’s a specialty for that! One of our most unique programs available here at SPEAR is our running analysis. This special assessment uses advanced video technology that allows your physical therapist to fully assess how your body is working while you’re running. The test is available at our Chelsea clinic and run by Carley Schleien, PT, DPT; most recently, Carley was featured in SELF magazine online, providing her expertise on proper running form! Author Amy Marturana’s article, “Here’s What Proper Running Form Actually Is and How Much You Should Care About It”, talks about the negative effects poor running form can have, causing injuries and impacting strength and mobility. Carley notes there are many different factors that may affect your running form: “Issues can come from weak glutes, really tight hip flexors or quads, or you might just not have a sufficient range of motion in the hips.” Amy concludes that “weaknesses in any of the muscles from your core to your hips to your quads and calves can impact how you run, as can any imbalances between each side of your body.”
Luckily, these are treatable issues that working with a physical therapist may help you to overcome. Before jumping onto the treadmill, Carley asks her patients about their running history (including any injuries or pain), and walks the patient through some functional movements to test their body’s range of motion, strength, and flexibility, key indicators for an individual’s overall assessment. As Amy puts it: “A physical therapist, especially one who specializes in runners and running injuries, can help you figure out the source of your pain and give you exercises to correct the underlying weakness or tightness and improve your form.”
There are a multitude of reasons you may not be hitting those personal milestones, or why you’re experiencing pain in the first place. A running analysis is a great place to start in understanding your body’s needs. The session starts with a run on the treadmill equipped with the OptoGait technology, a digital video analysis program that allows us to measure several different factors, including cadence, flight time, and even asymmetries between the left and right leg. The technology works with LEDs that communicate with infrared frequency to measure the symmetry of each step you take, picking up on any possible abnormalities and thus allowing your physical therapist to create a personalized exercise program that’s right for you and your goals.