I see many runners who suffer with reoccurring injuries and just can't seem to get to the bottom of why the same injury keeps returning. So, I thought I'd share one of the common reasons this happens and how I help break the cycle for runners and endurance athletes that I see in clinic.
Firstly, it's important to understand that during the running gait your soft tissues and bones experience large amounts of load and need to produce/ resist large forces. For example, your gluteus medius muscle (a relatively small muscle in the side of your hips), takes approximately 6.5 times your body weight at peak forces, every step of the run! That's huge! If you weigh 77kg that means even if only for a millisecond, that muscle is experiencing a force of 500kg repeatedly during your run!
So how does this relate to reoccurring injury?
Often when people pick up an injury, they do one or mix of a few things.
They either completely rest and it gets better and then they return to running. Or they rest and do some exercises that help it get better. They may also get a massage and other hands-on passive treatments.
But none of these approaches actually get to the root cause of the injury. If you think about it, your body needs to have a pretty big capacity to take the loads involved in running so if you don't get that capacity back up in the tissues, then as you return to running it's very likely that they will not be able to keep up and hey presto your injury returns.
Okay now what can you do to change this?
When you pick up an injury it's vital to get it assessed properly so you can find out if there's any way you can maintain some running. Rest is rarely best. At the same time a properly pitched, progressive loading and strengthening programme is crucial. One that is programmed to build you back stronger than you were before the injury and one that is right for your injury. After all the majority of injuries are caused by a lack of capacity in the first place. Hence my tag lines of #STRONGER and #RUNSTRONG. When coming back from injury you need to be stronger and more robust than the time leading up to that injury. So, don't put up with a reoccurring injury. There really is absolutely no need to COME BACK STRONGER